Reuters has been awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for the agency’s reporting on the violent persecution of a Muslim minority in Myanmar, the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University announced Monday.
The board commended Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters for their “courageous reports” on the Rohingya, who in their efforts to flee the Southeast Asian country, “often falls victim to predatory human-trafficking networks.”
Stephen Adler, Reuters Editor-in-Chief, said in a statement he was “immensely proud” of the “high-impact series.”
“For two years, Reuters reporters have tirelessly investigated terrible human-rights abuses in a forgotten corner of the Muslim world, bringing the international dimensions of the oppressed Rohingya of Myanmar to global attention,” he said.
Szep, from Washington, said: “What we were writing about was under-reported. I hope through this, there is greater international attention of the risks and presence of religious violence in Myanmar.”
It marks Reuters’ first Pulitzer Prize for text reporting.
Reuters was also a finalist in the investigative reporting category for exposure of an underground Internet marketplace where parents could bypass social welfare regulations and get rid of adopted children they no longer wanted.
The Guardian US and The Washington Post were each awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their coverage of secret surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Their reporting was based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed details of global electronic surveillance by the U.S. spy agency.
The board said the Guardian US’ reporting helped to spark debate about the relationship between the U.S. government and the public over issues of security and privacy and the Post’s reporting explained how the disclosures fit into a larger framework of national security.
Reporting on the leaks, which began last June, sparked international debate over the limits of government surveillance and prompted President Barack Obama to introduce curbs on the spying powers of the National Security Agency earlier this year.
“We are particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting,” Guardian Editor in Chief Alan Rusbridger said in a statement.
“And we share this honor, not only with our colleagues at The Washington Post, but also with Edward Snowden, who risked so much in the cause of the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of this prestigious prize,” he said.
Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum last year after the U.S. Justice Department charged him with violating the Espionage Act.
Other winners included The Boston Globe (2013 Boston Marathon bombing), The Washington Post (the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard), and journalist Chris Hamby of The Centre for Public Integrity, for his reports on how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to Kentucky coal miners stricken with black lung disease.
The prestigious prizes, awarded by Columbia University, are given in 14 categories of journalism as well as drama, music, poetry and books.
Named after journalist and publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who left money to establish the Columbia Journalism School, the awards are decided by a 19-member panel of editors, news executives and academics.
The Pulitzer Prizes can bring badly needed attention and recognition to newspapers and websites competing for readers in a fragmented media industry, where many are suffering from economic pressures and budget constraints.