In 2011, blogger and journalist with the pseudonym 'Mohamed' posted a picture of Gaddafi’s troops coming into Benghazi on his Facebook page. Soon after, he was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted. After his release, he was diagnosed as HIV+. Too ashamed to tell his family or friends, he kept silent even after his family arranged for him to get engaged. He’s now receiving medical treatment, thanks to one of the story producers at RNW. Yet the blogger who risked everything to tell the truth to power is still living with his secret. “The Benghazi Blogger” went on to win a Grand Award for being the top-ranked piece out of approximately 300 entries from 30 countries.
RNW also won a silver medal for an interview called “The Oliver Twist of Kabul”. The piece also won another special award, again a silver medal, in a competition adjudicated by the U.N. This second award is called the UNDPI (United Nations Department of Public Information). The interview features a thirteen-year old boy, Awad, who sells maps on the streets of Kabul to support himself and his mother. His charming salesmanship inspired some clients to sponsor his education – his favourite book: Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist”.
Both interviews were originally produced for the RNW program, The State We’re In, which went out of production in November 2012.