Panama Papers investigation wins Pulitzer Prize

April 12, 2017

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The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious awards in US journalism, on Monday, honoured the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for an investigative series on the Panama Papers.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau, The Miami Herald and The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists won the explanatory award for an investigative series exposing the global extent of offshore tax havens. The international consortium of more than 300 reporters on six continents exposed the so-called Panama Papers detailing the hidden infrastructure and global scale of offshore tax havens used by the high and mighty.

“The Pulitzer Prize Board lauded the year-long investigation for ‘using a collaboration of more than 300 reporters on six continents to expose the hidden infrastructure and global scale of offshore tax havens’,” ICIJ said on its website.

The Pulitzer is the latest in a series of various awards given to the ICIJ which includes the Investigation of the Year prize at the Data Journalism Awards.

“This honour is a testament to the enterprise and teamwork of our staff and our partners here in the United States and around the world,” ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle said in a statement. “We’ve honoured that the Pulitzer Board recognised the groundbreaking revelations and the worldwide impact that the Panama Papers collaboration produced.”

News of the recognition for ICIJ comes at a time when the nonprofit news outlet is blazing an independent trail for itself, aggressively seeking new funding and looking for ways to expand its partnerships to additional countries and boost its reporting and technology resources.

The Panama Papers investigation exposed offshore companies linked to more than 140 politicians in more than 50 countries – including 14 current or former world leaders. The Papers also revealed names of over 200 Pakistanis, including PM Nawaz Sharif’s children, who owned offshore companies in international tax havens.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has already reserved its verdict after completing the hearing of a disqualification case filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and others against the prime minister on the basis of these revelations.

The Pulitzer Prizes are regarded as the preeminent honour in journalism. This is the 101st year that Columbia’s School of Journalism has awarded the Pulitzer Prizes. Other news outlets honoured on Monday with Pulitzers include The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post won the national reporting award for what the board called “a model for transparent journalism” that cast doubt on Trump’s assertions of charitable generosity.

Fahrenthold investigated not only Trump’s claims of charitable giving but also disclosed that the Republican presidential candidate had boasted in crude terms about groping women in a 2005 videotape.

Journalism during the campaign was also honoured with the Pulitzer for commentary going to Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal for what the board called “beautifully rendered columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans during one of the nation’s most divisive political campaigns.”

The coveted Public Service medal went to tabloid the New York Daily News and investigative news site ProPublica for uncovering official abuse of eviction rules that ousted hundreds of mostly poor minorities from their homes.

The New York Times won the international reporting award for ‘agenda-setting’ coverage of Vladimir Putin’s efforts to project Russian power abroad, including assassinations and online harassment.

There was a total of 21 categories in journalism, arts and letters.

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