The first Daphne Caruana Galizia Journalism Award was awarded to the consortium of reporters behind the Pegasus Project investigation.
The report to Israel-based NSO Group provided further evidence that the malware was used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents.
The Pegasus Project research was coordinated by Paris-based nonprofit journalism Forbidden Stories and human rights group Amnesty International and shared with 16 news organizations.
Journalists were able to identify more than 1,000 people in 50 countries that were allegedly selected for potential surveillance by NSO clients.
This includes at least 180 journalists worldwide, as well as religious leaders, politicians and military personnel in India, Mexico, Hungary, Morocco and France.
The European Parliament, which presented the award, praised the project as an “international journalism initiative”.
“The unprecedented leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected for surveillance by customers of the Israeli company NSO Group demonstrates how this technology has been systematically abused for years,” the statement said.
“By creating transparency, investigative journalism enables voters to make informed decisions,” said David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament.
Opening the awards ceremony in Brussels, Sassoli said: “It is in the vital interest of democratic societies to protect and support journalists.” said.
“No longer available” recipient
The EU’s €20,000 inaugural prize is dedicated to Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb attack on 16 October 2017.
The award is presented by a jury of press and civil society representatives from the 27 EU Member States.
The award rewards “excellent journalism that promotes and defends the values and principles of the EU; human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights”.
Caruana Galizia’s sister, Corinne Vella, said she would be “very proud” to see this award presented.
“This is an award given to journalists named after a journalist for a project involving journalists working to protect other journalists,” Vella told Euronews.
“Right now I can’t think of a more appropriate winner for the first edition of this award.”
Last year, the number of journalists killed or killed worldwide doubled, and Vella says Europe still has “a long way to go.”
“This is a terrible thing to see, and we hoped things would improve quickly after Daphne’s death,” he told Euronews.
“While people are more aware of the dangers, we have yet to see the drastic action the world, and especially Europe, must take to protect journalism as a profession, and to protect journalists who are actually protecting our right to know.”
Click on the player above to watch the full interview with Corinne Vella.