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Monday, April 14, 2014

Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations

Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations

Congratulations Guardian and Washington Post.



Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations

Pair awarded highest accolade in US journalism, winning Pulitzer prize for public service for stories on NSA surveillance

Edward Snowden
The Guardian revealed the NSA's bulk
collection of phone records 10 months ago based on Edward Snowden's
leaks. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The Guardian and the Washington Post have been awarded the highest
accolade in US journalism, winning the Pulitzer prize for public service
for their groundbreaking articles on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities based on the leaks of Edward Snowden.

The award, announced in New York on Monday, comes 10 months after the Guardian published the first report based on the leaks from Snowden, revealing the agency’s bulk collection of US citizens’ phone records.

the series of articles that ensued, teams of journalists at the
Guardian and the Washington Post published the most substantial
disclosures of US government secrets since the Pentagon Papers on the
Vietnam war in 1971.

The Pulitzer committee praised the Guardian
for its "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National
Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate
about the relationship between the government and the public over issues
of security and privacy".

Snowden, in a statement, said:
"Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the
public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave
reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of
extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of
journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so
many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now
recognises was work of vital public importance."

He said that his
actions in leaking the documents that formed the basis of the reporting
"would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill
of these newspapers".

At the Guardian, the reporting was led by
Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and film-maker Laura Poitras, and at the
Washington Post by Barton Gellman, who also co-operated with Poitras.
All four journalists were honoured with a George Polk journalism award last week for their work on the NSA story.

Investigative reporter Laura Poitras accepts the George Polk Award alongside Barton Gellman, far left, and Ewen MacAskill.
Investigative reporter Laura Poitras accepts
the George Polk Award alongside Barton Gellman, far left, and Ewen
MacAskill. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The NSA revelations have reverberated around the world and sparked a
debate in the US over the balance between national security and
personal privacy. On the back of the disclosures, President Obama ordered a White House review into data surveillance,
a number of congressional reform bills have been introduced, and
protections have begun to be put in place to safeguard privacy for
foreign leaders and to increase scrutiny over the NSA’s mass data

"We are truly honoured that our journalism has been
recognised with the Pulitzer prize," said Alan Rusbridger, the
editor-in-chief of the Guardian. "This was a complex story, written,
edited and produced by a team of wonderful journalists. We are
particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported
the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting.
And we share this honour, not only with our colleagues at the Washington
Post, but also with Edward Snowden, who risked so much in the cause of
the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of
this prestigious prize."

Janine Gibson, the editor-in-chief of
Guardian US, said: "We're extremely proud and gratified to have been
honoured by the Pulitzer board. It's been an intense, exhaustive and
sometimes chilling year working on this story, and we're grateful for
the acknowledgement by our peers that the revelations made by Edward
Snowden and the work by the journalists involved represent a high
achievement in public service."

Among the disclosures were:

• the NSA’s mass dragnet of phone records of millions of Americans.

• the program codenamed Prism used
by the NSA and its UK counterpart GCHQ to gain back-door entry into the
data of nine giant internet companies including Google and Facebook.

• the cracking of internet encryption by the NSA and GCHQ that undermined personal security for web users.

• NSA surveillance of phone calls made by 35 world leaders.

coverage of the Snowden leaks presented a particularly thorny issue for
the 19-strong panel of journalists, academics and writers who recommend
the winners. The stream of disclosures invoked strong and polarised
reactions in the US and around the world.

In January, Obama said
that the debate on the acceptable limits of government surveillance
prompted by the articles “will make us stronger”. But other prominent US
politicians such as Mike Rogers, Republican chairman of the House
intelligence committee, have suggested journalism based on Snowden’s
leaks was tantamount to dealing in stolen property.

Snowden has
been charged with three offences in the US. He is the eighth person to
be charged with breaking the 1917 Espionage Act by the Obama
administration – more than all the prosecutions brought under previous
presidents combined.

The Guardian's US operation, headquartered in
New York, was incorporated as an American company in 2011 and
recognised last year by the Pulitzer board as a US news outlet eligible
to be considered for its prizes.

Last month Rusbridger was given a special award at the
European press awards; earlier this month the Guardian was named
newspaper of the year in the UK; and there it has been awarded other
prizes for online and investigative journalism in Germany, Spain and the

The Snowden stories were edited from New York by Gibson, and
Guardian US deputy editor Stuart Millar. The UK end of the reporting
was led by deputy editor Paul Johnson and investigations editor Nick

Others on the team of journalists included Spencer
Ackerman, James Ball, David Blishen, Gabriel Dance, Julian Borger, Nick
Davies, David Leigh and Dominic Rushe. In Australia the editor was
Katharine Viner and the reporter Lenore Taylor.

The Pulitzers have
been bestowed since 1917, at the bequest of the legendary newspaper
publisher Joseph Pulitzer who established the honour in his will as a
means of encouraging publicly-spirited journalism. The awards have
shifted and grown over the years to reflect the modern publishing
landscape and today stands at 22 categories, including 14 journalism
awards and seven gongs for books, drama and music. All the awards are
administered by Columbia University.

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