On Thursday, Reporters Without Borders, awarded annually to “journalists or media that have made a notable contribution to the defence or promotion of freedom of the press in the world”.
This year, the 2021 prize for impact was awarded to the Pegasus Project, an international consortium of 80 journalists from 11 countries who uncovered how Pegasus, the spyware owned by Isreali company NSO, was used to potentially spy on journalists, human rights activists, and opposition leaders across the world. Indian news platform the Wire,which was a part of the consortium, is also a recipient of the award.
The award for courage went to Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan, who in February last year reported on the Covid outbreak in Wuhan, where the virus is known to have originated. Her reportage was the main source of information on the pandemic at the time. Zhang was to four years in jail.
The prize for independence went to Palestinian journalist Majdoleen Hassona, who “was often harassed and prosecuted by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities for her critical reporting”, as the award citation said. Since 2019, Hassona has been banned from leaving the West Bank by Israel.
Speaking about the winners, RSF’s secretary-general Christophe Deloire said, “The RSF award laureates embody the noblest journalistic qualities and also pay the highest price because of this. They deserve not only our admiration but also our support.”