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Guardian, Washington Post win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-15

The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service Monday for their coverage of the US government's secret surveillance programme based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

The awards are American journalism’s highest honour.

The winning entries showed the government had monitored millions of Americans and foreigners based on its classified interpretation of laws passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The disclosures touched off a fervent debate in the United States over privacy versus security and strained relations with allies angered that Americans had been tapping into the private phone calls of leaders.

The stories were written by Barton Gellman at The Washington Post and Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill of The Guardian. The British newspaper has an American website.

“I think this it’s amazing news,” Poitras said in New York. “It’s a testament to Snowden’s courage, a vindication of his courage and his desire to let the public know what the government is doing.”

Meanwhile, the Pulitzer for breaking news was awarded to The Boston Globe for its “exhaustive and empathetic” coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed.

At the Globe, staff members said the announcement of the award – which comes just a day before the anniversary of the bombing – was met with a moment of silence in the newsroom for the victims.

Three people were killed and around 260 more were wounded last April 15 after two homemade bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, one of the world’s most celebrated races, turning the event into a scene of horror.

The New York Times won two Pulitzers in photography, with Tyler Hicks honoured in the breaking news category for documenting the Westgate mall terrorist attack in Kenya, and Josh Haner was cited for his essay on a Boston Marathon blast victim who lost his legs.

The Center for Public Integrity’s Chris Hamby won the award for investigative reporting for his reporting on how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners suffering from black lung disease.

The Pulitzer for explanatory reporting was given to The Washington Post’s Eli Saslow for reporting on the prevalence of food stamps in America.

No award was handed out for feature writing.

The winners of the public service award receive gold medals. The other awards carry a $10,000 prize.

The prize for national reporting was awarded to David Philipps of The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colorado, for an investigation that found that the Army has discharged escalating numbers of traumatized combat veterans who commit crimes at home.

The Pulitzer for international reporting went to Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters for their reports on the violent persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar.

The Oregonian newspaper was awarded a Pulitzer for its editorial writing, with the judges honouring a selection of works that focused on reforms in the public employees retirement system.

The prize was the third in the newspaper’s history for editorial writing.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia won in local reporting for delving into the squalid housing for the city’s homeless.

“These reporters faced long odds. They had to visit dicey neighborhoods late at night. They had to encourage county officials to be courageous and come forth with records,” said Neil Brown, the Tampa Bay Times’ editor and vice president. “And in the end what they were ultimately doing was standing up for people who had no champion and no advocate.”

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2014-04-14

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