Powerful cross-border stories on crime, corruption and public health are Daniel Pearl Awards finalists

The hole in the United States justice system that allows hundreds of violent fugitives to live in plain sight outside American borders. A drug-resistant form of tuberculosis that swept across India as health officials sought to hide its severity. A network of phantom companies belonging to an Eastern European crime syndicate, whose dealings involved a Vietnamese Triad and the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel.

The reports that revealed these hidden threats are among the six finalists selected by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for the 2013 Daniel Pearl Awards for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting.

The Pearl Awards are unique among journalism prizes in that they were created specifically to honor cross-border investigative reporting. The awards are presented by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity.

“I am honored to announce these six finalists,” said ICIJ director Gerard Ryle. “These are groundbreaking stories that in many cases were reported at great personal risk. They have had major impact in the countries that they covered and they reflect the very best of our profession.” 

This year’s finalists were selected from dozens of submissions, which were reported in a total of 86 different countries. The winners will be announced on October 14 at this year’s Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

A panel of four international judges selected the six finalists for the two, $5,000 first-place prizes. One will go to a U.S.-based reporter or news outlet, and the second to a non-U.S.-based journalist or news outlet. The additional finalists will each receive $1,000 prizes. The judges, at their discretion, can also award a $2,000 special citation prize.

This year’s Daniel Pearl Awards finalists are:

  • Revolution to Riches: This series by Bloomberg News traced for the first time the vast wealth accumulated by the families of many of China’s leaders, revealing a powerful aristocracy that is shattering the Communist ideal.
  • TB: A Menace Returns: Three reporters from the Wall Street Journal examined the lethal spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis across India and beyond, exacerbated by a World Health Organization policy that encouraged countries to prioritize regular TB at the expense of drug-resistant strains.
  • Fugitives from Justice: A pair of crime reporters from the Chicago Tribune caught onto the hidden international story of how easily fugitives charged with rape, murder and other violent felonies evaded justice simply by crossing America’s borders.
  • The Proxy Platform: The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project uncovered the banking records of an offshore company linked to organized crime, and found that its dealings spanned from state-owned companies in Russia and the Ukraine to a Vietnamese Triad and the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.
  • The Mafia’s Shadow in the Americas: With the coordination of InSight Crime, online news organizations in five Latin American countries examined the human rights consequences of organized crime, revealing slavery in brothels, forced conscription into gangs, and massive displacement of populations fleeing violence and coercion.
  • The Black Boxes and Teliasonera: The Uzbek Affair: Two reports on the Swedish public television program “Mission Investigate” revealed how the Swedish telecom giant Teliasonera cooperated with dictatorships in Central Asia in tracking dissidents and human rights activists, and paid extensive bribes to gain access to the market in Uzbekistan.

Formerly the ICIJ Award, the Pearl prize was renamed in 2008 in honor of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was slain by Pakistani militants in 2002. Selections this year were made by a distinguished international panel of judges:

  • Reg Chua (US), editor for Data and Innovation at Thomson Reuters
  • Bill Birnbauer (Australia), senior lecturer in journalism at Monash University in Melbourne, and longtime investigative reporter at The Sunday Age and The Age newspapers
  • Margo Smit (The Netherlands),  director of the Dutch-Flemish association of investigative journalists, VVOJ, and teacher of TV journalism at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Marianne Szegedy-Maszak (US), journalist and author whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, The New Republic, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times


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