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Pulitzer given for NSA reports

April 14, 2014

Revelations on the extent of surveillance by the US National Security Agency have won two newpapers the Pulitzer Prize. The Washington Post and the Guardian US are to share the highest award in American journalism.

Former US National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.
Image: Reuters

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The newspapers won the Public Service category of the 2014 Pulitzers, for their reporting based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

The Pulitzer committee at Columbia University in New York said the Washington Post's reports "helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security," while the Guardian US "sparked a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.

The newspapers' revelations showed the NSA helped the US government collect information about millions of Americans' phone calls and emails, based on how it interpreted laws passed after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The coverage also sparked serious concerns about US surveillance abroad, after it was reported the NSA spied on European leaders, including tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

Snowden is facing US federal criminal complaint charges of espionage and felony theft of government property, prompting him to seek asylum in Russia.

Other winners in the 14 Pulitzer categories included The Boston Globe newspaper, which won the breaking news award for its reporting of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, while the New York Times won in the breaking news photography and feature photography categories. The fiction award went to Donna Tartt for her novel, "The Goldfinch."

jr/pfd (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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