European Parliament awards Forbidden Stories for its Pegasus Project research

The journalists of the Pegasus project, coordinated by the consortium Forbidden Stories, which revealed global espionage to journalists, activists and politicians with Israeli technology, received today the Daphne Caruana Galizia premium primer, of the European Parliament, to investigative journalism.

Forbidden Stories is a consortium of journalists who are dedicated to continuing the investigations of journalists who have been threatened, imprisoned or murdered, as was the case of the Maltese Daphne Caruana who gives name to this recently released award.

The winning project was selected from among the works presented by more than 200 journalists from the 27 countries of the Union, between June 22 and September 1, 2021, reported the European Parliament.

The award ceremony, held in the press center of the European Parliament, was inaugurated by its president, David Sassoli, while the person in charge of delivering the golden award of 20,000 euros to the representatives of the consortium, Sandrine Rigaud and Laurent Richard , was the general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, Anthony Bellange.

Investigative journalism enables readers to make informed decisions and plays a key role in maintaining democratic societies, Sassoli said in a speech before the award ceremony.

Rights “are not etched in marble”, “nothing has been acquired, not freedom, not democracy”, That is why it is important that there are control mechanisms, including journalism, said the Italian, who before entering politics had been a journalist and this Thursday praised the courage of Caruana Galizia and regretted that this profession has become a profession of “Risk” in Europe.

Since its constitution in 2017, Forbidden Stories and its partners have continued the work of Daphne Caruana Galizia, but also that of other journalists killed for their investigations into environmental crimes or Mexican cartels.

With more than thirty associated media around the world and almost one hundred journalists, Forbidden Stories relies on a network that “strongly believes in collaborative journalism”, Highlighted the jury.

His work has earned him other prestigious awards, such as the European Journalism Prize or the Georges Polk Prize.

The jury of the Daphne Caruana Galizia premium primer rewarded this work based on an unprecedented leak of more than fifty thousand phone numbers selected by clients of the Israeli company NSO as potential espionage targets.

The authors of the Pegasus Project showed how NSO’s technology has been used “systematically for years to commit abuses.”said the European Parliament in a statement.

With the help of Amnesty International, the Forbidden Stories consortium had access to records of phone numbers selected by NSO clients in more than fifty countries since 2016..

More than eighty reporters from sixteen media outlets in ten countries, coordinated by Forbidden Stories with the technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Laboratory, dived into those records and managed to “glimpse the guts of a mass surveillance weapon of unprecedented magnitude. “, highlighted the European Parliament.

And added that Forbidden Stories discovered that, contrary to what NSO has maintained for years, this spyware has been used “massively improperly”.

The leaked data showed that at least 180 journalists were targeted in countries such as India, Mexico, Hungary, Morocco or France, among others.

Possible targets also include human rights defenders, academics, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, union leaders, diplomats, politicians, and various heads of state.

Created in December 2019, the Daphne Caruana Award honors Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese investigative journalist and blogger specializing in corruption issues, who was killed in a 2017 car bomb attack outside her home.

The European Parliament, which will award this award each year around October 16, the anniversary of the murder, wants to reward quality journalism that promotes or defends the fundamental principles and values ​​of the European Union.

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