The Fighters – read their stories


Our partners have incredible stories to tell, and fantastic track records within their expertise. We are interviewing a number of these “fighters” to highlight the brave and excellent work they do. Enjoy the reading!

John Githongo: “We are in a global democratic recession”

Interview of John Githongo, Kenyan journalist, activist and thinker against corruption. He has been close enough to power to reveal the dishonesty of the elite, who later organized a plot to assassinate him. He says: “The most insidious impact of corruption in society is not the money that is lost but the trust it undermines among people in their leaders, institutions, politics and sometimes even among themselves”.


Arzu Geybulla: “They call me traitor because I advocate for democratic reforms in Azerbaijan”

Interview of Arzu Geybulla, freelance journalist and columnist working for human rights and freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. This has resulted in her being called a traitor and she has suffered a long campaign of online harassment for her work. She says: “I still believe in peace and reconciliation. I believe in fair reporting. I’m no traitor. I never was. And I will keep holding my values above anything else”.


Cristina Palabay: “I experience death and rape threats on a daily basis”

Interview of Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of Karapatan, a national alliance of human rights organizations and individuals working for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. She says: “In the past four years, 13 Karapatan human rights workers have been killed. None of the 13 cases has been solved, not even prosecuted”.


Orus Villacorta: “The president of El Salvador responds to our questions with mockery”

Interview of Orus Villacorta, journalist and codirector of Revista Factum, an investigative online magazine that reports corruption and malpractice from the part of officials who control the government in El Salvador. He says: “In our country anti-democratic practices routinely undermine the rule of law and there’s corruption, social violence, extreme poverty, organized crime, inequality and lack of transparency”. [Castellano]


Tor Madira: “Government officials kill at will, embezzle public funds at will”

Interview of Tor Madira, journalist and co-founder of Sudans Post, an investigative media outlet that reports political corruption and malpractice by most senior government officials in Sudan and South Sudan. He says: “Citizens always have a role to play in a society and I choose to take the role of journalism despite the risk because I believe that every effort in the interest of the society and the innocent citizen has what it takes to achieve”.


Rinat Tuhvatshin: “When corruption becomes too difficult and risky, we will win!”

Interview of Rinat Tuhvatshin, journalist and co-founder of Kloop Media Foundation, an investigative news outlet and youth school of journalism from Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia where corruption is present at all levels of society. He says: “We have chosen to focus on corruption and human rights because it literally kills people and we think it is the most important topic to cover”


Diana Salinas: “Those who want to do investigative journalism have to leave fear at home”

Interview of Diana Salinas, co-founder of “Cuestión Pública”, one of the few digital media in Colombia that dares to practice investigative and counter-power journalism. Diana has won many prizes and also risked her life with her investigations. All because, she says: “I love to put my finger on the score spot, to irritate with the truth”. [Castellano]


Vi Tran: “We are trying to help people that want political pluralism in Vietnam”

Interview of Vi Tran, lawyer and activist that advocates for a democratic movement in Vietnam. Co-founder of the independent magazine Luat Khoa and the newspaper The Vietnamese, that are blocked in Vietnam. Her mission is “to speak for those that can’t”.


Albertine Watchdog: “In case our identities were discovered, the risks include assassinations”

Interview of Albertine Watchdog, an anonymous group of environmental activists fighting against the oil and gas exploration in the Lake Albert region (Uganda) and its consequences on the population. Additionally, the group provides training to activists that fight against human rights abuse and environmental degradation as a result of the oil and gas exploration. Tens of thousands of people and more than 500 species of animals, including some threatened, are affected.


Uvindu Kurukulasuriya – Going into exile is a big decision

Interview of Uvindu Kurukulasuriya, founder of Colombo Telegraph. Exiled to London in 2009. Colombo Telegraph is one of the most read news websites in Sri Lanka, with thousands of people writing their opinions and one million visitors per month: “We have a lot to do to make Sri Lanka better”.


Khalid Ibrahim – Human rights defenders are treated like criminals in MENA region

Interview of Khalid Ibrahim, co-founder of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, an independent non profit that operates in MENA region, a risky place for human rights defenders. His closest colleagues are in prison and the situation is only getting worse, specially for women that defend human rights.


Ronalyn V. Olea – The tyrants in cyberspace are shutting down critical and independent voices

Interview of Ronalyn V. Olea, managing editor of Bulatlat, Philippines’ top alternative online news site. Bulatlat has been labeled as “enemy of the state” by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and cyber attacked with hard Distributed Denial of Service attacks during three months. Ronalyn talks about it without fear.


Ganimat Zahid – Officials treat journalists as outcasts in Azerbaijan

Interview of Ganimat Zahid, editor-in-chief of the online newspaper Azadliq.info and founder of Turan.TV, with 2 million viewers, the most popular TV show in Azerbaijan. Ganimat is listed by Reporters Without Borders as one of “100 Information Heroes” for his continuous effort to keep the Azerbaijani people informed.


Rafael Marques de Morais – for press freedom I have had to fight to free the Angolan people from fear

Interview of Rafael Marques de Morais, prominent political activist, winner of numerous journalistic prizes and awards, and founder of Maka Angola, a anti-corruption watchdog focusing on social injustice in Angola.


My.Kali brings hope to MENAs queer youths and challenges the narrative in the region

Interview by of Khalid “Kali” Abdel-Hadi, founder of My.Kali, one of the first queer magazines in the MENA region.