Gyan Maharjan is the president and co-founder of X-Pose Nepal, an organization dedicated to curbing the pervasive sexual assault and harassment of women in secondary and higher educational institutions. X-Pose operates under the motto, “To end all types of sexual abuse and exploitation.” His work includes creating programming in schools to combat gender-based violence and sexual harassment. He supports the education of over 70 underprivileged children from marginalized populations. Gyan was also active in the recovery programs following Nepal’s 2015 earthquakes.
Bassem Youssef was the host of one of the most popular television programs in Egypt’s history, Al-Bernameg, and is a successful comedian and writer on top of that. Al-Bernameg satirized well-known figures in Egyptian society, and quickly became a platform for airing opinions on political and social issues. In a country that has struggled for freedom of press, and despite an arrest warrant for insulting President Morsi and Islam, Bassem has been a champion of free speech and accountability. In 2013 Time Magazine named Bassem one of the “100 Most Influential People.” That same year he was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Alok Dixit is a journalist and social activist who advocates for internet freedom as well as campaigns to stop acid attacks against women – an act of violent assault all too common in India and neighboring countries. He is the founder of Save Your Voice: A Movement Against Web Censorship, an organization dedicated to securing “a free web space where each individual has his right to free speech.” He is co-founder of Stop Acid Attacks, which works to support the victims of acid attacks in India – typically a very marginalized population – and lobbies the government for stricter regulations on the sales of acid. His dedication to fighting censorship and providing a voice to acid attack survivors makes him a champion of transparency and social change.
Kimberly Motley is a trailblazing human rights lawyer who has shaped the international justice system. She is not only the first lawyer licensed to practice in both the US and Afghanistan, but has done groundbreaking research on juvenile justice systems. She provides training for lawyers in Afghanistan, as well as representation for human rights and civil cases in the two countries. Motley delivered a very well-received TED Talk at Oslo Freedom Forum in 2015 entitled “How I Defend the Rule of Law”. She works tirelessly in representing her clients, improving legal systems around the world and providing access to justice for everyone.
Safa Al Ahmad
Safa Al Ahmad is a young documentarian, journalist activist whose work has produced remarkable coverage of uprisings in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Her documentary, “Saudi’s Secret Uprising,” provided an inside look at the violent responses given to peaceful protests, and she’s been one of just a few journalists corresponding from the ground during civil conflict in Yemen. She was a joint winner of the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for Journalism in 2015 and winner of the 2015 International Press Freedom Award winner by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CIFE).
Nadia Murad has overcome horrific events to become one of the most powerful activists against human trafficking. She was one of more than 6,700 Yazidi women taken captive by the Islamic State in Iraq 2014, during which time she was kept enslaved and abused. After escaping to Germany, she began Nadia’s Initiative, an organization “dedicated to helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities and human trafficking heal and re-build their lives and communities.” She was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought last October shortly after becoming the first ever Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations.
“In the River”Raye Zaragoza
New York-based singer-songwriter Raye Zaragoza wrote “ In The River: A Protest Song” to support the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Identifying as Native, part Pima, Raye was inspired by listening to different testimonials of the Standing Rock Sioux people and says “Any threat to water is a threat to all of us.”
“Tumba Murallas”, a song by Colombian band Systema Solar, is a hymn to the “real and imaginary walls that have faced mankind for centuries, such as China and Berlin, and in Colombia in the city of Cartagena”, it says on the band’s webpage, “it is a song that can change the world.” The song describes using fists not for violence, but for cheering on social change, and this attitude of positive, peaceful revolution is a timely message.
“Fly Over (United We Are)”New Nobility
New Nobility is an Australian rock band using their growing fame to spread messages of peace and unity. Their latest hit, Fly Over, tells the listener to “imagine a time, where there’s no war and enter a place near the heart/ united we are strong…it’s time we take a stand.” The song uses catchy lyrics and melodies to make the plea for world harmony so many yearn for in an increasingly divided world.
Hooligan SparrowDirected by Nanfu Wang
“Hooligan Sparrow” is a documentary by filmmaker Nanfu Wang following activists Ye Haiyan, Shan Lihua, Tang Jitian, Wang Jianfen, Jia Lingmin, Wang Yu, and Huang as they work for justice for six young students sexually abused by their school principal. They faced incredible opposition from local and federal officials, finding themselves subjected to imprisonment, interrogation and surveillance. Nevertheless, they refused to be silent and smuggled secretly shot footage out of the country. What resulted was a film that spoke out against the sexual abuse, but also the systematic injustice and censorship at work.
The Ivory GameDirected by Kief Davidson, Richard Ladkani
“The Ivory Game” explores both elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade in Hong Kong and China. Both directors Davidson and Ladkani as well as their crew went undercover to research the illegal activities. Their dedication brought to light ongoing international criminal activity that involves multiple countries and actors. It showcased the pervasive flaws in ivory regulation and, ultimately, put it to governments to improve their performance or face the imminent extinction of elephants
Shadow WorldDirected by Johan Grimonprez
“Shadow World” focuses on the little-known world of arms trading. The film delves into the global elites who drive the trade and the extreme difficulty in prosecuting them for illegal actions. The arms trade is often a black-market industry which has extreme ramifications across the world, and this film bravely examines that. It was awarded the Best Documentary Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. “Shadow World” brings transparency to this issue and serves as an example of the power of film in empowering the public through knowledge.
“A walk through Delhi’s polluted streets”, a photo series by photographer Matthieu Paley, exposes the impact of urbanization, density of cars, and the practice of burning refuse in India’s capital city, the most polluted area in the world according to the World Health Organization. The series captures the variety of different factors contributing to the city’s pollution- such as industries dumping chemical waste into the Yamuna river or a smog covered village below an open-air garbage dump. It just as well captures scenes that demonstrate the impact of pollution on the daily lives of city’s inhabitants from all different walks of life.
Carlos Garcia Rawlins
“In crisis-hit Venezuela young women seek sterilisation”, Carlos Rawlin’s photographs depicts scenes of young women “opting for sterilisation rather than face the hardship of pregnancy and child-rearing” in light of food shortages, inflation and crumbling medical sector currently plaguing the country. The series captures the stories of various young women affected by the crisis in Venezuela, where access to traditional contraceptives like condoms or birth control pills is difficult.
In “Philippines drug war turns jail into a haven”, photographer Damir Sangolj provides a window into the lives of inmates in Philippines, the country with the third highest occupancy level, behind only Haiti and Benin, according to Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR). The photo series captures scenes from inside prisons, overcrowded with inmates convicted of drug-related offences, a result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs”.
The Honesty Oscars celebrate the stars who are working for transparency and accountability around the world. We all love an award-winning movie, but what's better than highlighting organizations, activists, and artists that are changing their countries for the better? Our nominees will engage and inspire you just as much as your favorite movie actors and actresses.
We care about this because transparency and accountability really matter. When money meant for health clinics go missing, or drugs meant for patients are stolen, people die. When funds allocated for education go astray or are mismanaged, children cannot learn. This is devastating because it perpetuates suffering, poverty, and inequality. That’s why we support and celebrate people that are finding creative ways to fix these problems.
So for the fourth year running, we’re rolling out the red carpet! Join thousands of others to vote above for your favorite entries; spread the word on social media; and help us “name and fame” accountability change-makers! Black tie optional.
The Accountability Lab is building a movement of active citizens and responsible leaders around the world. We support change-makers to develop creative ideas for integrity in their communities. By enabling people to use information and knowledge to hold those in power to account, we help to unleash positive social and economic change.
ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. ONE also raises public awareness and works with political leaders to demand greater transparency, so governments are accountable to their citizens.
#CultureFix is a global network of artists, cultural producers, and influencers who use arts and culture to create social change. We believe in the power of arts, in the intersectionalities of sociopolitical issues, in cross-border collaborations, and in supporting each other's movements and projects.
We’re working to promote transparency and accountability around the world—but we can’t do it without you.
See the activists, artists, and organizations that were honored in previous years.