The winners of the 2011 Daniel Pearl Awards were announced today at the seventh Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. The top exposés deal with offshore crime networks and international sex trafficking.
The awards honor the slain Wall St. Journal reporter and celebrate the best in cross-border investigative reporting. This year’s biennial competition attracted 70 entries from 30 countries. An international panel of five judges selected seven finalists, from which they chose one U.S. winner, one international winner, and a Special Citation.
International: Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project Offshore Crime, Inc. This investigation uncovered how Eastern European criminals and corrupt politicians use offshore havens as fronts for money laundering, tax evasion, and drug and weapon smuggling.
U.S.: Mimi Chakarova and the Center for Investigative Reporting The Price of Sex. Photojournalist Chakarova reveals in riveting detail the underground criminal networks and the experiences of Eastern European women forced into prostitution abroad.
Special Citation with a Certificate of recognition: NPR, Radio Canada/CBC, and Swiss TV RSI – Tamiflu. Investigation examined the decisions made by the World Health Organization and The Centers for Disease Control in light of the swine flu and H1N1 flu pandemic.
Each winner receives US$5,000. The Special Citation receives US$2,000. Each set of finalists receives US$1,000.
Michael Smith Bloomberg Markets Magazine — Lethal Commerce. Investigation followed the stories of impoverished victims, brokers, and doctors involved in illicit organ transplant trafficking in Latin America.
Sarah Stillman — The Invisible Army. Exposed the plight of more than 70,000 low-wage foreign workers on U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq and detailed the grave abuses they suffer.
Anna Schecter and Brian Ross ABC News — Peace Corps – Trust Betrayed. Investigation uncovered the Peace Corps leadership’s mistreatment of volunteers who were raped or sexually assaulted at their posts.
Forum for African Investigative Reporters — Pirates, Smugglers and Corrupt Tycoons. Followed development projects in African countries and found such criminal activities as piracy and oil smuggling support economies and communities when weak and inefficient governments fail.
Judges were impressed with the ambitious entries – and the clear risks the winners took to get their story. “Reporters from OCCRP went undercover, which allowed them to meet business agents, lawyers and others who advised them how to set up phony offshore accounts, cheat on taxes, even buy turnkey money laundering and tax evasion services,” said judge Manny Garcia, executive editor of El Nuevo Herald.
Judge Ginger Thompson of the New York Times was captivated by Chakarova’s documentary: “Her attention to detail and dignity in her portrayals of victims, and the breathtaking courage she showed during her forays into the criminal underworld should serve as the professional standard to which all investigative reporters aspire.”
Said ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle: “The winning entries show the power and value of investigative collaboration in today’s increasingly difficult media environment. I congratulate some magnificent journalism.”
The Pearl Awards are administered by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. ICIJ is a global network of reporters who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories. Founded in 1997, ICIJ was launched as a project of the Center for Public Integrity to extend the Center’s style of watchdog journalism, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers. With more than 100 members in 50 countries, ICIJ is dedicated to investigating cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power. Backed by the Center and its computer-assisted reporting specialists, public records experts, fact-checkers and lawyers, ICIJ reporters and editors provide real-time resources and state-of-the-art tools and techniques to journalists around the world.