Consortium behind Pegasus Project wins EU journalism prize

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FILE – In this Tuesday, July 20, 2021 file photo, Congress party workers shout slogans during a protest accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of using military-grade spyware to monitor political opponents, journalists and activists in New Delhi, India. The consortium of journalists behind the Pegasus Project investigation into malware from Israel-based NSO Group that provided further evidence that it was used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents, won the top European Union journalism prize Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The consortium of journalists behind the Pegasus Project investigation into malware from Israel-based NSO Group that provided further evidence that it was used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents, won the top European Union journalism prize Thursday.

The European Parliament said in a statement that the “unprecedented leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected for surveillance by the customers of the Israeli company NSO Group shows how this technology has been systematically abused for years.”

The list was obtained by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International and shared with 16 news organizations. Journalists were able to identify more than 1,000 individuals in 50 countries who were allegedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance.

They include 189 journalists, more than 600 politicians and government officials, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists and several heads of state, according to The Washington Post, a consortium member. The journalists work for organizations including The Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and The Financial Times.

The EU’s inaugural prize of 20,000 euros (around $23,000) is named after Daphne Caruana Galizia and is a tribute to the Maltese investigative journalist who was killed in a car bomb attack four years ago.

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