2018 GUE/NGL Award
“Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information”
In honour of
DAPHNE CARUANA GALIZIA, Journalist
has been jointly awarded to Ján Kuciak and Raphaël Halet
The murdered Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and LuxLeaks whistleblower Raphaël Halet have been named the first recipients of the inaugural GUE/NGL award for ‘Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information’.
Named in honour of the late Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, the two have been jointly awarded for their work and their courage in exposing corruption and wrongdoing by the powerful.
Kuciak was posthumously recognised for his investigative work into tax fraud amongst businessmen with links to top Slovak politicians. His murder in February 2018 led to the toppling of the Fico government.
Halet, meanwhile, is the former PwC employee behind LuxLeaks alongside Antoine Deltour. Halet helped to leak the documents that exposed multinatioals’ tax evasion in Luxembourg. He remains on trial for the exposé.
The prize-giving ceremony can be followed live from 18h00 CET here.
Further information about the jury and procedure can be found here.
Also nominated were:
- Gjorgji Lazarevski and Zvonko Kostovski
Two intelligence officers whose revelations about wiretapping of over 20,000 political opponents by ex-FYROM PM Nikola Gruevski’s government led to the cabinet’s resignation.
- Julian Assange
Founder of WikiLeaks who has been holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid probable extradition to the US.
- Maria Efimova
Former Pilatus Bank employee-turned-whistleblower exposed corruption relating to the Azeri and Maltese leaderships. Currently in Greece but wanted by Cypriot and Maltese authorities.
Courageous, dogged and determined, Daphne Caruana Galizia was a most formidable journalist and whistleblower whose fearless crusade to undercover the truth was what ultimately led to her brutal and untimely death in October 2017.
Assassinated in a car bomb in her native Malta, Caruana Galizia had spent years as a thorn in the side of politicians, the mafia and multinationals. Individuals with something to hide were relentlessly pursued in the name of public service.
Caruana Galizia was the embodiment of a journalist, a whistleblower and defender to the right of information. As a Maltese and a European, she truly upheld the freedom of expression as a basic human right to inform and educate.
Feared by those with something to hide, but respected by her peers and loved by her readers and followers, the voice of Malta may have been silenced but Caruana Galizia’s immense legacy lives on.
Matthew Caruana Galizia, Journalist, ICIJ
Can Dundar, Journalist
Juliette Garside, Journalist, The Guardian
Stephanie Gibaut, UBS Whistleblower
Stelios Kouloglou, MEP GUE/NGL
Marisa Matias, MEP GUE/NGL
Frederik Obermaier, Journalist, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Gianna Papadakou, Journalist
Miguel Urbán, MEP GUE/NGL
Matthew Caruana Galizia - Journalist and software engineer
With two other ICIJ employees, Matthew founded ICIJ's Data & Research Unit in 2014 and was a lead engineer on six major investigations: Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, Luxembourg Leaks, Fatal Extraction, Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. The Unit's core work on the Panama Papers, which supported the investigations of hundreds of journalists worldwide, led to ICIJ winning the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2017.
Matthew holds a joint postgraduate degree in journalism from Aarhus University and City University London and was a Carnegie-Knight fellow at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a Logan Nonfiction Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good. While working at FT Labs, he was a core engineer on several products for the Pearson publishing group. Prior to joining ICIJ, he worked on an investigative journalism team led by Giannina Segnini at La Nación, in Costa Rica.
Frederik Obermaier - investigative journalist and author
Currently residing in Munich, Frederik works for the Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany's biggest quality newspaper.
His work largely focuses on tax havens, corruption, extremism and intelligence services worldwide. Together with his colleague Bastian Obermayer, he initiated and coordinated the Panama Papers revelations and wrote an international bestseller about the project. Obermaier and Obermayer were also behind the Paradise Papers publications.
Obermaier has received numerous honours for his work, amongst them the CNN Award, the Otto-Brenner-Preis, the Wächterpreis, the Journalistenpreis Informatik, the Helmut-Schmidt-Journalistenpreis, the Murrey Marder Fellowship in Watchdog Journalism at Nieman-Foundation at Harvard University and together with his colleagues, the Scripps Howard Awards, the George Polk Award for Business Reporting, the Barlett & Steele Award as well as the Investigative Reporters and Editors-Award (IRE-Award).
For the Panama Papers revelations, he was given the ‘Journalist of the year 2016" with Bastian Obermayer and Vanessa Wormer. As part of the Panama-Papers team, he won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize 2017 for "Explanatory Reporting".
Frederik Obermaier is member of Netzwerk Recherche and of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Juliette Garside – investigative reporter
Juliette Garside is an investigative reporter at the Guardian. A business writer by training, she specialises in tax and offshore issues, most recently in the Paradise Papers. She led the Guardian's reporting team on the Panama Papers, the Pulitzer Prize-winning international collaboration headed by the ICIJ. Her scoop on the financial affairs of David Cameron's family forced him to become the first British prime minister to publish his tax returns. Her work was awarded Investigation of the Year at the British Journalism Awards in 2017 and 2016.
Stéphanie Gibaud – author and whistleblower
Gibaud was a public relations specialist and was working at the Marketing Department at UBS in 2008 when she was ordered to shred sensitive documents – which she refused to do. She then became a whistleblower and was subsequently harassed by UBS but managed to help the French Ministry of Finances to identity numerous offshore bank accounts. She later became an author and was nominated by the Sakharov Prize along with Edward Snowden and Antoine Deltour in 2015.
The dangers of being a Journalist, Whistleblower or Defender of the Right to Information in 2018
The right to information and human rights go hand in hand.
However, both have become more perilous in recent times. Indeed, there are no safety guarantees to being a whistleblower or a journalist even at the heart of the European Union.
Every day we hear about journalists and whistleblowers coming up against intimidation, threats, legal challenges and worse.
Some have support networks; others work independently and have next to no protection beyond the rule of law. But as we have seen with the high-profile murders of the investigative journalists, Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak in the past year, and the case against the LuxLeaks whistleblower, Antoine Deltour, EU legislation offers very little in terms of human rights protection in such instances.
Time and time again, journalists and whistleblowers are taken to court by governments, sued by multinational corporations and now, with alarming frequency, assassinated in broad daylight for doing their jobs.
By silencing their voices, the public becomes less informed, whilst the elites and governments keep their dirty secrets - and money - private.
And this is happening in Europe right now. Can you imagine the situation elsewhere - in places like Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Mexico or even the US?
According to Reporters Without Borders - one of the world’s foremost defenders of journalistic freedom and the public’s right to information - nearly half the world’s population is still deprived of their right to have access to information at the start of this millennium.
And with internet freedom also under threat with data privacy concerns and government snooping on its citizens, will our freedom of access to information also come under attack?
All the more important that journalists, whistleblowers and defenders of the right to information are given the necessary protection so that they - and we - can uphold the democratic rights and values that everyone deserves.
A message from the Caruana Galizia family:
The Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information could not be more relevant or timely.
In the space of six months, two journalists have been assassinated within the European Union’s borders. In Malta, our mother and wife, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was killed whilst protecting her readers’ right to information and the identity of her sources. In Slovakia, Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were executed in a contract killing after he reported about corruption involving people in power.
Inconvenient truth is not brought to light by chance. It is exposed through the work of journalists, of whistleblowers, and of activists who defend our right to know what those in positions of power and influence would rather keep hidden. The pressure to hide information, to prevent its publication and dissemination, is what they face every day. Speaking truth to power is difficult and demanding. It is risky and, as we now know, it can be fatal. It is a fitting tribute to our mother and wife that this award will recognise the personal risk and determination it takes to defend everyone’s right to know.
In life, Daphne Caruana Galizia inspired trust and hope in whistleblowers and risked everything to protect our right to know. Let her example and this award to inspire courage in all of us, but especially to those on the frontline of a battle waged every single day, even in Europe, to protect what is ours by right.
Peter, Matthew, Andrew & Paul Caruana Galizia