The Guardian has been feted internationally for its coverage of the NSA files leaked by Edward Snowden, but the reaction at home has been churlish.
Last month it was named Newspaper of the Year at the British Press Awards, with the citation:
Its work transcended the parameters of individual category awards because of its ramifications and impact. The judges said the fact that it polarised opinion even within the Press showed how important it was.
It was the view of the judges that it showed courage in producing the most impactful piece of journalism during 2013 with a story of global significance that went to the heart of the debate on press freedom. The unanimous decision of the judges was that the best of British national newspapers in 2013 was The Guardian.
- Snowden leaks could aid paedophiles
- Snowden completely abandons girlfriend
- Snowden made tech firms wary
- Snowden self-regarding idealist
- Snowden betrayed his own state
- Snowden isn't a hero, he's a traitor
The latter view, which appeared in the Times last month, was echoed by the Express's veteran security correspondent Chapman Pincher, who reported in 1967 that all telegrams were intercepted by GCHQ. Reminiscing on the occasion of his 100th birthday last month, Pincher said: "I think Snowden's a traitor who ought to be shot."
Pincher regards himself as a patriot above all else and was willing to accept instructions from the Government, including publishing disinformation. The Guardian in contrast has found itself in conflict with the Government and even went through the pantomime destruction of hard disks containing Snowden material (as though it wouldn't have ensured that it had back-up copies elsewhere).
Well now the Guardian has become the first British paper to win a Pulitzer prize - and not just any prize, the top one, for public service. The award, shared with the Washington Post, has gone to Guardian US as it is open only to American-based organisations - but that doesn't lessen its importance to British journalism. After all, most of our nationals have a Washington bureau or New York operation that would qualify.
The citation states that the prize for a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site...a gold medal
"Awarded to the Guardian US for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy"
Maybe we in this country may now accept that it isn't a good thing for America to be tapping Angela Merkel's phone - and recognise the Guardian's role in bringing to the world's attention the fact that it does.
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