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Guardian, Washington Post share Pulitzer Prize for coverage of NSA surveillance

Published time: April 14, 2014 19:11
Edited time: April 14, 2014 20:17
The Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize

The Guardian US and the Washington Post are among the winners of a prestigious journalistic Pulitzer award. The newspapers shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Reporting for coverage of NSA surveillance and whistleblower Snowden’s leaks.

The prize is awarded “for a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources,” according to the Pulitzer Committee. This includes the use of “stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material.”

The committee stated that it was awarded to the Washington Post for “its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

It also awarded joint gold to Guardian US 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.”

Among Guardian US and Washington Post revelations were some of the most wide-scale and high-profile disclosures of government secrets since 1971’s Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War.

Glenn Greenwald headed up reporting at the Guardian alongside Ewen MacAskill and film-maker Laura Poitras. Poitras has also collaborated with the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman, who was also honored.

The impact of both newspapers’ revelations has sparked global outrage at the extent of US covert surveillance of its own citizens and those of other nations. With the help of documents leaked by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, details of clandestine PRISM operations and UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) collaboration emerged.

PRISM was employed to acquire data from the stores of nine internet giants including Google and Facebook.

Other notable releases since last June covered NSA dragnet surveillance, which was declared illegal by an independent federal agency in January. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said the storing of phone data “lacks a viable legal foundation.”

Surveillance of the phone calls of 35 world leaders has also garnered controversy.

Snowden released a statement published in the Guardian shortly after the announcement: “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.”

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