Panama Papers investigation wins Polk Award

Cross-border project wins one of journalism's highest honors

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The Panama Papers investigation has been honored with a George Polk Award for financial journalism, the award sponsor, Long Island University, announced.

The series, which exposed offshore tax havens and rattled leaders from around the world, was headed up by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity.

The Polk Awards judges lauded the reporting collaboration for sparking official investigations and reforms aimed at combating global tax dodging and money laundering.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Süddeutsche Zeitung, McClatchy, the Miami Herald, Fusion and more than 100 other media partners worked together to investigate a trove of leaked documents from inside Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-headquartered law firm that sells offshore companies and other hard-to-unravel corporate structures.

“The Polk Award and other honors are an important recognition of the value of cross-border collaborations,” ICIJ’s director, Gerard Ryle, said. “This project wouldn't have been possible if our colleagues at Süddeutsche Zeitung hadn't been willing to share the Panama Papers leak with us and other media partners. Some stories are so complex and so global they can only be unlocked when journalists are willing to share information and support each other.”

“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Center for Public Integrity CEO John Dunbar. “The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its network of journalists showed true global reach in a project that was incredibly innovative and impactful.”

This marked the fourth Polk won by the Center.

The George Polk Awards are given out each year to honor “special achievement in journalism.” They place “a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results.” The awards were established in 1949 to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war.

Other winners in this year’s Polk Awards include the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic, The Marshall Project, National Public Radio, the Houston Chronicle, The Atlantic, The New York Times and ProPublica.

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