The Pegasus Project awarded the 2021 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism

This Thursday 14 October 2021, the Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories Consortium.

The award ceremony held in the Press Centre of the European Parliament was opened by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.

From 22 June to 1st September 2021, more than 200 journalists from the 27 EU countries submitted their media stories to a panel of judges.

Representing the 29 members of the European jury, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists, Anthony Bellanger, presented the 20.000 EUR prize money to the representatives of the consortium, Sandrine Rigaud and Laurent Richard.

About the winner

Forbidden Stories is a consortium of journalists whose mission is to continue the investigations of murdered, imprisoned or threatened journalists.

Since its inception in 2017, Forbidden Stories and its partners have pursued the work of Daphne Caruana Galizia, but also of journalists murdered for their investigations into environmental crimes or Mexican cartels.

With more than 30 partner news organizations around the world and nearly 100 journalists, Forbidden Stories relies on a network that believes strongly in collaborative journalism. For its work, Forbidden Stories has won prestigious awards around the world, including the European Press Prize and the Georges Polk Award.

About the winning story

Pegasus: The new global weapon for silencing journalists • Forbidden Stories

Short summary of the winning story:

An unprecedented leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected for surveillance by the customers of the Israeli company NSO Group shows how this technology has been systematically abused for years. The Forbidden Stories consortium and Amnesty International had access to records of phone numbers selected by NSO clients in more than 50 countries since 2016.

Journalists from the Pegasus Project – more than 80 reporters from 17 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories with the technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Lab – sifted through these records of phone numbers and were able to take a peak behind the curtain of this surveillance weapon, which had never been possible to this extent before.

The Forbidden Stories consortium discovered that, contrary to what NSO Group has claimed for many years, including in a recent transparency report, this spyware has been widely misused. The leaked data showed that at least 180 journalists have been selected as targets in countries like India, Mexico, Hungary, Morocco and France, among others. Potential targets also include human rights defenders, academics, businesspeople, lawyers, doctors, union leaders, diplomats, politicians and several heads of states.

For more information about the Pegasus project:

Pegasus: The new global weapon for silencing journalists • Forbidden Stories

About the European Jury

An independent jury composed of 29 representatives of the press and civil society from the 27 European member states and representatives of the main European Associations of Journalism.

International Federation of Journalists – Anthony Bellanger : Secretary General

Committee to Protect Journalist – Tom Gibson : EU Representative

Austria – Helmut Spudich : Vice-President of the Concordia Press Club Vienna

Belgium – Pol Deltour : National secretary VVJ / AVBB (Belgian / Flemish Association of Journalists)

Bulgaria – Bogdana Lazarova : Journalist from Bulgarian National TV, member UJB

Cyprus – Tonia Stavrinou : Journalists-member of the Executive Committee of the Union of Cyprus Journalists

Croatia – Hrvoje Šimičević : Member of the Croatia Journalists’ Association Executive Board

Danemark – Elisabeth Hamerik Schwarz : Representative Danish

Estonia – Helle Tiikmaa : President Estonian Association of Journalists

Finland – Salla Nazarenko : International Affairs Specialist at the Union of Journalists in Finland

France – Jérôme Cathala : Mediator France Télévision, forme Head TV France International

Germany – Juliane Hielscher : Chairman of the Berlin Press Club

Greece – Ariadni Aria Agatsa : 1st Vice President JUADN

Hungary – László M. Lengyel : Executive President of the HPU

Ireland – Michael Foley : Vice Chair of the NUJ Ethic’s Council, former journalist at the Irish

Italia – Raffele Lorusso : General Secretary of the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (Fnsi)

Latvia – Ilja Kozins : Chair of the board of the Latvian Association of Journalists.

Lithuania – Dainius Radzevičius : Chairman of Lithuanian Journalists Union

Luxembourg – Tom Haas : Member of the Committee of the Luxembourg Association of Professional Journalists (ALJP)

Malta – Matthew Xuereb: Assistant Editor Times of Malta

Netherlands – Ana Karadarevic : NVJ Board member

Poland – Jarosław Włodarczyk : Secretary General Press Club Polska

Portugal – Patricia Fonseca : Director Lisbon Press Club

Republic Czech – Marie Nemcova : COO MDIF (Media Development Investment Fund) – Prague

Romania – Léonard – Octavian Paduret : President Federația Cultură și Mass-Media FAIR – Mediasind

Slovakia – Daniel Modrovsky : Representative Slovak syndicate of Journalists

Slovenia – Uroš Škerl Kramberger : Member of the Slovenian Union of Journalist and a prominent journalist at daily Dnevnik.

Spain – Luis Menéndez : Representante designado por la Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España

Sweden – Ulrika Hyllert : Leader of the Swedish union for journalists

About the Prize

The Daphne Caruana Prize was initiated by a decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament in December 2019 as a tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese anti-corruption investigative journalist and blogger who was killed in a car bomb attack in 2017.

The Prize is rewarded on a yearly basis (on the 16 October, the date Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated) to outstanding journalism that promotes or defends the core principles and values of the European Union such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights. This is the first year the prize has been awarded.

The Prize was opened to professional journalists and teams of professional journalists of any nationality to submit in-depth pieces that have been published or broadcast by media based in one of the 27 European Union member states. The aim is to support and highlight the importance of professional journalism in safeguarding freedom, equality and opportunity.

The independent jury was composed of representatives of the press and civil society from the 27 European member states and representatives of the main European Associations of Journalism.

The prize and the €20 000 prize money demonstrates the European Parliament’s strong support for investigative journalism and the importance of free press.

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism is awarded each year around the 16th October, the day of the journalist’s assassination.

Who was Daphne Caruana Galizia?

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a Maltese journalist, blogger and anti-corruption activist who reported extensively on corruption, money laundering, organised crime, sale of citizenship and the Maltese government’s links to the Panama Papers. Following harassment and threats, she was murdered in a car bomb explosion on 16 October 2017.

The outcry over the authorities’ handling of her murder investigation ultimately prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Critical of failings in the investigation, in December 2019, MEPs called on the European Commission to take action.

Published on 28 April, the report “Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists” from the Council of Europe lists 201 serious violations of media freedom in 2020. This figure marks a 40% increase from 2019 and is the highest figure recorded since the platform was established in 2014. A record number of alerts concerned physical assault (52 cases) and harassment or intimidation (70 cases).

Parliament strongly advocates the importance of a free press. In a May 2018 resolution, MEPs called on EU countries to ensure adequate public funding and to promote a pluralist, independent and free media. Parliament has once again underlined the importance of media freedom in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.