Yeah, we’ve won some of those “best startup”-awards before, and been seen as top innovative people, but the award we got last week is “Hoola Bandoola Band-priset” (the Hoola Bandoola Band-award), to someone who has worked in the spirit of swedish artist Björn Afzelius.
The award means a lot to us because most of us grew up with the music of Björn Afzelius (as well as the Hoola Bandoola Band). The reason we got the award was (in rough translation), “for fighting for global freedom of speech against powerful empires” – which refers to us not letting Wikileaks down even though major banks, Paypal, Visa and Mastercard all decided to close down their accounts.
We’re not the average company as most know. We really do care about society and trying to change things – that’s why we started Flattr! So instead of keeping the award money (which is 15.000 SEK, ~1.600 EUR) we’re giving the money to the Bradley Manning defense fund, since the award was given for the work he might have contributed to, and suffering the biggest consequences for.
We strongly believe in the idea of whistle blowing and that one should be able to expose criminal actions from corrupt governments, without being prosecuted for it. And it’s not even certain it was Bradley Manning. We think that this is in the spirit of Björn Afzelius, that this is something he would have believed in as well.