NEW YORK, April 11 (SABAH): The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) won a Pulitzer Prize in the United States for exposing the Panama Papers detailing the hidden infrastructure and global scale of offshore tax havens used by the high and mighty.
New York’s Columbia University awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting to the Panama Papers stories written by ICIJ, McClatchy, the Miami Herald, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners including the Toronto Star.
The Pulitzers, the most prestigious honours in American journalism, have been awarded since 1917, often going to famed publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
“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,” Gerard Ryle, ICIJ’s director, said in an announcement on the ICIJ website. “We’re honored that the Pulitzer Board recognized the groundbreaking revelations and worldwide impact that the Panama Papers collaboration produced.”
The Panama Papers project spanned collaboration of 100 media outlets with journalists in 80 countries who worked together to investigate 11.5 million files leaked from inside Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-headquartered law firm that specialised in building offshore companies.
The Pulitzer Prizes also honoured The Washington Post for hard-hitting reporting on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and The New York Times for revealing Vladimir Putin’s covert power grab, praising their probing of powerful people despite a hostile climate for the news media.
The Daily News of New York and ProPublica, a web-based platform specialising in investigative journalism, won the prize for public service journalism for coverage of New York police abuses that forced mostly poor minorities from their homes.
Reporter Eric Eyre of Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia took the prize for investigative reporting for exposing a flood of opioids in depressed West Virginia counties with the country’s highest overdose death rates.
The staff of the East Bay Times of Oakland, California, won the breaking news award for coverage of the “Ghost Ship” fire that killed 36 people at a warehouse party, exposing the city’s failure to take actions that might have prevented the disaster.
The 19-member Pulitzer board is made up of past winners and other distinguished journalists and academics. It chose the winners with the help of 102 jurors.
More than 2,500 entries were submitted this year, competing for 21 prizes. Seven of the awards recognise fiction, drama, history, biographies, poetry, general nonfiction and music.
Author Colson Whitehead won the fiction award for “The Underground Railroad,” a work the judges said “combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.” The Pulitzers began in 1917 after a bequest from newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer.