NEW YORK — Bloomberg News has won the George Polk Award for International Reporting for its investigative series that revealed how Western companies provide surveillance systems to authoritarian countries with some of the world’s worst human rights records including Iran, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia. The award recognizes reporters Vernon Silver, Ben Elgin and Alan Katz for their series that uncovered how government officials in these countries now routinely use information gathered through surveillance technology to confront, arrest and torture dissidents.
The “Wired for Repression” series showed how companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and other western countries profited from selling gear that allowed oppressive regimes to intercept citizens’ e-mails and text messages, monitor Internet activity and locate political targets through cell phone technology. The series led directly to calls in the U.K. and European Parliament to ban such sales to Iran. And according to Human Rights Watch, the reporting saved lives and spared Syrians from torture.
Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler said, “We are grateful to be recognized with the George Polk Award for this series by Vernon Silver, Ben Elgin and Alan Katz that advanced the public interest by uncovering how Western companies profited from this practice.”
This is the fourth Polk award for Bloomberg News and the third year in a row Bloomberg has won. Bloomberg News was recognized in 2011 for an investigative series on the for-profit college industry, in 2009 for a series of stories seeking transparency from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and in 2006 for health reporting on human drug testing. Since its inception in 1990, Bloomberg News has won more than 500 awards.
Stories from the award-winning series are online at: http://bit.ly/yPIHzY
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