Their voices are suppressed, prohibited and censored. But Yoani Sánchez, Zeng Jinyan and Farnaz Seifi are not frightened of their dictatorial regimes. These fearless women stand for a new, networked generation of modern resistance fighters. In Cuba, China and Iran their blogs shake the foundations of the state information monopoly – putting their lives at risk thereby. Barbara Miller’s film FORBIDDEN VOICES accompanies these modern young rebels on their dangerous, self-sacrificing mission and shows how they use social media like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to denounce and combat the maladministration in their countries – thereby triggering international resonance by building up enormous political pressure. “Time Magazine” counts them among the world’ most influential political voices. Based on their moving eyewitness reports and clandestine photography, FORBIDDEN VOICES pays homage to their courageous battle.


With her blog ‘Generation Y’, Cuban philologist Yoani Sánchez fights for press freedom and freedom of opinion in Cuba. She publicises the fate of government opponents imprisoned on the island and campaigns for their release. Yoani Sánchez has been subjected to tough and repressive measures and is no longer allowed to leave the island. The Cuban government has publicly branded her an enemy of the state.

Yoani Sanchez
Zeng Jinyan

There are more than half a billion Internet users in China. For months, Beijing has been fretting about the possibility of the Arab Spring spilling over into the People’s Republic of China. Because the Chinese political machine – out of fear of losing its monopoly on information – is rigorously enforcing its policies, the life of every free-thinking citizen in China has become a nightmare. Zeng Jinyan’s everyday life epitomises this struggle: she is living under house arrest with her husband and her daughter.

Lucie Morillon

Farnaz Seifi, a 30-year old media scientist and journalist, was one of the first female bloggers in Iran, and took the risk of writing under her real name. For this act, in 2007 she was forced to flee to exile in Holland, with a student visa she had to struggle to obtain. The Iranian regime had declared her an enemy of the state and imprisoned her. Farnaz fights for equal rights and freedom of expression, and opposes the Islamic fundamentalism that holds sway in Iran. She is an activist in the women’s rights movement and co-founder of the Iranian human rights campaign ‘One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality’, which fights state-sanctioned discrimination against women.

Farnaz Seifi
Ory Okolloh

Ory Okolloh, a 35-year-old Harvard graduate and lawyer, is fighting for the democratisation of her country. Her blogs ‘Mzalendo’ and ‘Kenyan Pundit’ were a lone voice in the crisis-torn country during the unrest verging on civil war triggered by manipulated presidential elections in Kenya. As Kenya deteriorated into bloody chaos, Ory developed ‘Ushahidi’, an Internet programme giving a voice to people in desperate circumstances all over the world while at the same time mapping their individual experiences on the world map.

Ory Okollohs story exclusively here as Webdoc.

Lucie Morillon
Lucie Morillon

Lucie Morillon is the Head of Reporters Without Borders New Media Desk. She deals with monitoring online freedom of expression and advocating for the release of online reporters, bloggers and netizens who have been imprisoned for speaking freely on the Internet.

She was till June 2009 based in Washington DC, where she opened a representative office in 2004. She supervised Reporters Without Borders USA activities, acted as a spokesperson for the organization and covered issues related to press freedom in the United States. In charge of PR and advocacy towards Congress, she did her best to publicize press freedom abuses worldwide. She took part in several Reporters Without Borders fact-finding missions and has been featured on CNN, ABC News, Fox News, Al Jazeera, and quoted by the New York Times, the Washington Post, The LA Times,, etc.

Lucie Morillon joined the international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders in 2000 as a Researcher for the European and Former-USSR Desk. Next, she assumed the position of the organization’s International Coordinator, managing the development of Reporters Without Borders branches. 

Lucie Morillon