Paradise Papers


ICIJ’s Paradise Papers wins award for innovation in watchdog journalism

The Paradise Papers investigation has been honored with a top prize at the IRE Awards, an international award for investigative reporting and editing.

The project won the Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, marking the second year in-a row that an ICIJ investigation has been awarded the prize for innovation after the success of the Panama Papers last year.

The IRE judges hailed the investigation as exhibiting “extraordinary innovation in exposing the secret tax machinations of some of the world’s most powerful people and corporations.”

The judges said ICIJ and its partners had broken the boundaries of investigative journalism with the Panama Papers, but the Paradise Papers project ‘’went beyond even that.’’

Based on a trove of 13.4 million leaked files, the Paradise Papers exposed the secret tax machinations of some of the world’s most powerful people and corporations. The files were leaked to German reporters Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier of Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with ICIJ, which brought together a collaboration of more than 90 media partners, including The New York Times, the Guardian and others from around the world.

“ICIJ used reverse-engineering techniques to reconstruct corporate databases, used algorithms to draw out people and organizations of interest, and further developed its platform to allow reporters to search within and across datasets and visualize the connections among people and business entities,’’ the IRE judges said.

‘’To top it off, ICIJ has made its software code and large stores of data available to the public.”

The Paradise Papers and Panama Papers investigations have both prompted and spurred on tax evasion probes around the globe that have recouped hundred of millions of dollars.

ICIJ director Gerard Ryle said the win was a huge boost to the entire collaboration of more than 380 journalists, which continues to investigate the massive trove of leaked documents.

“These investigations aren’t just about uncovering hidden wealth. They are also about exposing injustice in the world,” Ryle said. “We’re encouraged by this recognition from IRE, and by the ongoing impact of our stories around the globe.

“None of this would be possible without the tireless work of hundreds of determined reporters, nor would it be possible without the courageous whistleblowers helping bring this information to light. We’re still investigating, and we encourage anyone with more information to contact us and help us continue our work.

The annual IRE Awards, run by Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., recognize the top pieces of investigative journalism from around the world. Other winners this year included The New York Times for its coverage of sexual harassment in Hollywood and the #MeToo campaign, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Slidstvo.Info for its documentary on the murder of Ukranian journalist Pavel Sheremet, among other local, national and international media outlets.

This is the second major prize for the Paradise Papers investigation, which was honored with a George Polk Award earlier in the year.