The Pegasus project received the first Daphne Caruana Galizia Journalism Award

For the first time, the Daphne Caruana Galizia Journalist Award was presented. With the award, the European Parliament recognizes outstanding journalistic performance. Each year, around the 16th anniversary of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, it is awarded to journalists who, through their work, stand up for European values ​​and principles such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law or human rights. The award will be presented for the first time this year.

Irrespective of nationality, any professional group of journalists and professionals can apply for investigative material that has already appeared in the press or other media in one of the 27 EU Member States. With this recognition, Parliament wishes to draw attention to the crucial role that high-quality journalism plays in preserving freedom, equality and equal opportunities. The members of the independent jury were representatives of the press and civil society of the 27 Member States, as well as the main European journalists’ associations. The recognition and the accompanying € 20,000 cash prize send a message: it shows Parliament’s commitment to fact-finding journalism and the importance of a free press.

This year, more than 200 applications were received from the 27 member states, but the 29-member jury awarded the Forbidden Stories consortium for their work on wiretaps for Pegasus spyware. The software has been regularly misused for years by customers of the Israeli company that makes the software, as evidenced by a database of more than 50,000 phone numbers whose owners have been spying on the software. According to data obtained by the Forbidden Stories consortium and Amnesty International, since 2016, NSO customers have observed targets in more than 50 countries. Journalists involved in the Pegasus project – more than 80 employees from 17 media companies in 10 countries – studied the phone number lists under the direction of Forbidden Stories and technical support from Amnesty International Security Lab, and got a more detailed picture of the spy weapon that has been hidden so far. It has been discovered that spyware has been widely abused by its users – contrary to the claims made by the NSO Group over the years, including the content of a recently published transparency report. Based on the leaked information, it can be said that at least 180 journalists were targeted in India, Mexico, Hungary, Morocco or France, for example. Observers include several human rights defenders, scientists, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, union leaders, diplomats, politicians and heads of state.

On behalf of the 29-member jury, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists, Anthony Bellanger, presented the € 20,000 prize money to Sandrine Rigaud and Laurent Richard, representing the consortium, at the European Parliament Press Center.


The project was co-financed by the European Union as part of the European Parliament’s communication support program. The European Parliament has not been involved in its preparation and accepts no responsibility or liability for the information and positions published under the project, for which the authors, the respondents, the editors and distributors of the program are solely responsible in accordance with the applicable law. The European Parliament is not liable for any direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the project.

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