Journalism Nominees – Freedom of Expression Awards 2015







Digital Activism





Journalism Award Nominees 2015

Recognises impactful, original, unwavering investigative journalism across all media.


Rafael Marques de Morais


Rafael Marques de Morais

Journalist and Human Rights Activist


Both as a journalist and human rights activist, Marques de Morais has exposed government and industry corruption in Angola – speaking out for those whose human rights have been violated in his country. Despite repeated arrests and threats, including a 40-day detention without charge during which he was denied food and water for days, Marques de Morais has continued his investigations, most recently detailing human rights abuses within Angola’s diamond companies – including 500 cases of torture and 100 murders of villagers living in the vicinity. After filing charges of crimes against humanity against seven Angolan generals, Marques do Morais is now being counter-sued for $1.6 million. Undeterred, he continues to write on corruption in Angola.

Acceptance speech: Rafael Marques de Morais: I believe in the power of solidarity

Full profile: Journalism nominee Rafael Marques de Morais


Safa Al Ahmad

Documentary Maker

Saudi Arabia

Safa Al Ahmad has spent the last three years covertly filming a mass uprising in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province that had, until her film, gone largely unreported. She did this in a country where those accused of dissent can face execution and travelling solo as a female is restricted. Al Ahmad’s 30-minute documentary, Saudi’s Secret Uprising, gave a rare glimpse of civil unrest from the region when it was broadcast by the BBC in May 2014. Since her important documentary aired Al Ahmad has faced extensive and violent online threats, and has been advised for her own safety not to return to her country.

Acceptance speech: Safa Al Ahmad: Facts are a precious commodity in Saudi Arabia

Full profile: Journalism nominee Safa Al Ahmad

 Safa Al Ahmad
 Lirio Abbate

Lirio Abbate

Investigative Journalist


For the past eight years Italian journalist Lirio Abbate has been living under 24-hour police protection, his life threatened after his books detailing mafia activity in Italy were first published. Despite repeated assassination threats Abbate has continued his investigative work, exposing mafia involvement in drug- and human-trafficking. Abbate is also the founder of Trame, an anti-mafia literary festival boldly held in Calabrian, the heartland of Italy’s mafia. Last year, after groundbreaking work tying Rome’s mafia with violent neo-fascist organisations in Rome, Abbate saw further moves against his life. He continues to live and work in Palermo, most recently publishing Fimmine ribelli (rebel women), a book about women who resist Calabria’s dangerous mafia groups. Full profile: Journalism nominee Lirio Abbate

Ekho Moskvy

Radio station


The independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy’s critical voice is one of the few remaining in a country bending to Putin’s will. Ekho’s journalists have been repeatedly pressured by Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor, which in March last year banned its website after a piece by opposition figure Alexei Navalny was published there. Soon after came the threat of a second warning (two warnings from Roskomnadzor equals closure) because of a programme discussing Russian-backed insurgents in Ukraine. In spite of being blacklisted and threatened with closure, editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov and his Ekho Moskvy team continue to produce quality, un-biased reporting from the heart of Russia. Full profile: Journalism nominee Ekho Moskvy

 Echo of Moscow