Washington, D.C. — Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) online brand 歪脑 | WHYNOT was today named a first-place winner at this year’s Human Rights Press Awards for its mini-documentary, Surviving Online Abuse. The project, which follows four survivors of online abuse who reflect on their psychological trauma, won in the Documentary Chinese category of the Human Rights Watch and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications-sponsored competition, which was previously based in Hong Kong.
“On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, it is fitting that RFA’s digital brand 歪脑 | WHYNOT was named a winner at this year’s Human Rights Press Awards,” RFA Executive Editor Min Mitchell said. “Their eye-opening documentary on cyberbullying on the Chinese internet reveals underreported truths about Chinese repression and speaks to the exact principles RFA – and World Press Freedom Day – stand for. We couldn’t be prouder of their incredible work.”
歪脑 | WHYNOT’s winning documentary is part of a broader project The Chinese Internet’s Hidden Victims: Uncovering and Healing the Scars of Online Abuse, which investigates the Chinese cyberspace, and the abuse many social media users experience. Despite filters and controls, research showed how cyberbullying persists and is encouraged by authorities on state-controlled platforms like WeChat, Douyin, and Weibo. For this investigation, 歪脑 | WHYNOT conducted an online survey in February 2022, collecting and examining data from over 2000 respondents from 220 cities in mainland China. Through interviews with witnesses, survivors, former abusers, scholars and researchers, 歪脑 | WHYNOT’s findings revealed damning statistics about the extent of online abuse and the psychological trauma victims experience.
Formerly sponsored by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong, the Human Rights Press Awards resumed this year for the first time since 2020, after being suspended amid a severe crackdown on independent media in Hong Kong. The awards recognize outstanding reporting on human rights issues in Asia, with the goal of increasing respect for people’s basic rights and raising awareness of the threats imposed on those freedoms.
Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting and publishing online news, information, and commentary in 9 East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. RFA’s broadcasts seek to promote the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” RFA is funded by an annual grant from USAGM.
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