The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has won the Pulitzer Prize for its Panama Papers story.
The Panama Papers, which listed hidden assets and the use of tax havens for tax evasion and money laundering by the rich and the powerful, caused political upheavals in many countries as soon as they went public.
About the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize is the most valued journalistic award in the United States, bestowed upon the biggest achievements in news, online and offline journalism, literature, and other similar achievements. Ever since 1917, this prestigious honor is awarded for outstanding achievements in 21 categories by the Columbia University.
The winners are chosen by a board of 19-members consisting of former winners and distinguished journalists. A jury of 102 members is also part of the selection process.
ICIJ and the Award
Generally, the Pulitzer Prize has been awarded to popular publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. This year, however, Panama Papers – dubbed as the biggest leak in the history of journalism – broke the trend as became the most effective news story in the world.
In an announcement on the ICIJ website, Gerard Ryle, ICIJ’s director, said:
“This honor is a testament to the enterprise and teamwork of our staff and our partners here in the United States and around the world.
We’re honored that the Pulitzer Board recognized the ground-breaking revelations and worldwide impact that the Panama Papers collaboration produced.”
ICIJ is currently planning on expanding its footprint and getting funds to work on new projects.
The Panama Papers project was a yearlong collaborative effort of more than 300 journalists from 100 media outlets spread across six continents.
It exposed offshore companies linked to thousands of politicians in more than 50 countries, including 14 active or former country heads. Offshore secret assets of mega-banks, corporate bribery scandals, drug kingpins and other noticeable figures were also detailed in the leaks.
As many as 11.5 million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonseca (one of the biggest law firms, based in Panama), which were then analyzed and subsequently made available to the general public.
Several notable figures from Pakistan, including the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family, leading political figures, businessmen, judges and media related personalities were also named in the Panama Papers.