Identity is a “human right” says mojo competition winner

Posted by Deborah Kelly

Somali blogger Farah Abdi accepts her prize for her winning entry in the Thomson Foundation RTÉ MojoCon mobile journalism competition.

Farah’s film about the plight of fellow refugees in Malta forced to sleep rough to renew their identity cards was chosen from more than 80 entries in the annual international competition. Her report convinced the Maltese government to change its regulations.

Part of her prize was to attend the RTÉ Mojocon 360° conference in Galway which attracts mobile journalists, 360° specialists and content creators from all over the world.



Identity is a human right, says 2017 mobile journalism competition winner, Farah Abdi. 


Farah, 21, arrived in Malta from Libya by boat in 2012 after fleeing Kenya due to fear of persecution because of her gender identity as a trans women. 

She travelled thousands of miles through sub-Saharan Africa, the Sahara and Libya with only a few cans of tuna and pineapple to survive on. A non-swimmer, she had never seen the sea before crossing the Mediterranean in a small dinghy crammed with fellow refugees.

The human rights violations she witnessed are documented in her autobiography, Never Arrive



Farah now lives in Germany where she continues to blog and is starting to explore producing podcasts and radio broadcasts using her prize, an iPhone 7 Plus.

This is the third year that the Thomson Foundation has run the mobile journalism competition.

The mobile phone has enabled a new generation of journalists.

Hosam El Nagar, director of innovation and learning, Thomson Foundation

“The growing number of entries every year demonstrates how the mobile phone has enabled a new generation of journalists, says Hosam El Nagar, director of innovation and learning at the Thomson Foundation. “Farah not only produced an innovative piece of mobile journalism but she also made a difference to the lives of refugees in Malta.”


Glen Mulcahy, founder of RTÉ MojoCon conference, the first international conference dedicated entirely to mobile journalism. Images: Sir Cam (@camdiary)



2017 highlights




MojoCon 2017: Must-watch

Watch the winning film and finalists in the 2017 Thomson Foundation mobile journalism competition.

Related content


Somali blogger wins our 2017 mojo competition

Farah Abdi filmed the plight of refugees sleeping rough for ID cards


Meet last year's winners

Yusuf Omar and Leonor Suárez were joint winners of the 2016 competition


Mojo: from periphery to the mainstream of journalism

Mobile journalism is more than a cheap way to produce video content 

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

Director of Training and Communications

About: Deborah plays a key part in developing and promoting our training programmes and is our specialist  on gender in media. Her recent training projects have centred on digital and mobile journalism.

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