Prestigious George Polk Award given to Pegasus Project

Today, New York-based Long Island University has awarded the Pegasus Project the very prestigious George Polk Award, in the "Technology Reporting" category.

Forbidden Stories is deeply honored by this recognition of the quality and impact of this investigation it coordinated with 80 journalists from 16 partner media outlets* and with the indispensable technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Lab.

“Their reporting revealed that spyware sold by the Israeli company NSO Group Technologies to combat terrorism and crime was used to tap into the phones of 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists and more than 600 politicians and officials around the world,” Long Island University wrote in a press release.

Laurent Richard, Forbidden Stories founder and director.

When a threat as large as this cyber-surveillance emerges, imperiling fundamental rights like the right to free speech, journalists need to come together. That is what we did with the Pegasus Project. This George Polk Award recognizes that collaboration of journalists from around the world is without a doubt one of the best defenses against these violent attacks on global democracy.


In July 2021, the Pegasus Project investigations revealed the inner workings of a worldwide phone spying system. At the heart of the matter: the very intrusive Pegasus spyware, sold by Israeli company NSO and abused by many governments in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. For the first time in the history of modern spying, the world was able to see the faces of the victims of cyber-surveillance.

The Pegasus Project revelations have had repercussions all around the world: protests in Hungary and in India, dozens of complaints filed by victims, inquiry committees on the scandal set up by the Indian Supreme Court and the European Parliament, the blacklisting of NSO Group by the Biden administration, the arrest of a first suspect in Mexico, as well as significant reactions of Apple, Amazon, Moody’s and many others to this worldwide scandal. 

A few weeks after the Pegasus Project revelations, UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet called for a moratorium on the sale and transfer of surveillance technology. Last week, it was the European Data Protection Supervisor’s turn to call for a ban. The global regulation of surveillance weapons like Pegasus is now on the table.

The Pegasus Project media partners:
The Guardian, Le Monde, The Washington Post, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Aristegui Noticias, Radio France, Proceso, OCCRP, Knack, Le Soir, Haaretz/TheMarker, The Wire, Daraj, Direkt36, PBS Frontline.

With the technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Lab.

More about the Pegasus Project


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They support us

Maria Ressa

2021 Nobel Peace Prize

“All they want in killing a journalist, or in attacking a journalist, is to stop the story.”

Can Dündar

Former editor of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet

It will send a very clear message to oppressive governments that if they touch a journalist anywhere in the world, many others will be ready to support and follow up their story.”

Khadija Ismayilova

Azerbajani investigative journalist

“What you are suggesting is creating a newsroom for journalists who have no press freedom. You will get fantastic stories.

Matthew Caruana Galizia

Maltese journalist, son of slain reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia

“We couldn’t allow our mother’s stories to die with her. They were too important. For them to be forgotten would have been like killing her twice.

Fabrice Arfi

Mediapart‘s head of investigations

The finest project of investigative journalism, in solidarity against censorship.

Sandhya Ravishankar

Indian journalist

“Now I know that Forbidden Stories will always have my back.”

Bastian Obermayer

2017 Pulitzer Prize winner

“Even if Forbidden Stories rescues just a handful of investigations that fall into a sort of limbo each time a journalist is jailed or killed, it will already be a great victory for citizens.”

Marina Walker

Executive editor at Pulitzer Center

“By working together, journalists can make it harder for censorship to win. We’re proud to support Forbidden Stories.”