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The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 Daniel Pearl Awards for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting.

This award is unique among journalism prizes in that it was created specifically to honor cross-border investigative reporting. It is presented by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity.

This year’s biennial competition drew 70 entries from 30 countries. Topics ranged from the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control’s handling of the swine flu and H1N1 flu pandemic to the world of human trafficking and sex slavery in Eastern Europe. The seven finalists represent some of the world’s best investigative reporting and include stories from Afghanistan and Iraq, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the United States.

“I’m honored to present this outstanding work,” said ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle, the group’s first non-American director. “We are acknowledging journalists whose work often places them in great danger and does more than grab headlines; it generates meaningful impact and exposes the truth.”

William E. Buzenberg, the executive director of the Center for Public Integrity said, “I’m delighted to announce these seven finalists. Their work exemplifies investigative journalism’s capacity to uncover hardships that affect people from all corners of the globe.”

A panel of five international judges selected the seven finalists for the two, $5,000 first-place prizes. One will go to a U.S.-based reporter or news outlet, and the second to a non-U.S.-based journalist or news outlet. Five additional finalists will each receive $1,000 prizes. The winners will be announced in October at this year’s Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. The finalists are:

  • Tamiflu: This multi-country investigation involving collaboration with NPR, Radio Canada/CBC, and Swiss TV TSI, examined the decisions made by the World Health Organization and The Centers for Disease Control in light of the swine flu and H1N1 flu pandemic that compelled governments around the world to spend billions of dollars to stockpile the anti-viral drug, Tamiflu.
  • Lethal Commerce: Bloomberg Markets Magazine senior writer Michael Smith’s investigation followed the stories of impoverished victims, brokers, and doctors involved in illicit organ transplant trafficking in Latin America.
  • The Invisible Army: Freelance writer Sarah Stillman’s story appeared in the New Yorker as a feature-length investigative piece that reveals the plight of more than 70,000 low-wage foreign workers on U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq and detailed the grave abuses against so-called “third country nationals” in both war zones.
  • Peace Corps – Trust Betrayed: The ABC News investigation by Anna Schecter and Brian Ross uncovered the Peace Corps leadership’s mistreatment of volunteers who were raped or sexually assaulted at their posts and a shocking failure to protect these young American women abroad.
  • Offshore Crime, Inc.: The report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project uncovers how Eastern European criminals and corrupt politicians are using offshore havens as fronts for money laundering, tax evasion, and drug and weapon smuggling.
  • The Price of Sex: For years, photojournalist Mimi Chakarova has investigated the world of human trafficking and sex slavery. She reveals in riveting detail the underground criminal networks and the experiences of Eastern European women forced into prostitution abroad.
  • Pirates, Smugglers and Corrupt Tycoons: Five reporters from the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR) followed development projects in African countries and found that criminal activities like piracy and oil smuggling are supporting economies and communities when weak and inefficient governments fail.

Formerly the ICIJ Award, the Pearl prize was renamed in 2008 in honor of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was slain by Pakistani militants in 2002. Selections this year were made by a distinguished international panel of judges:

  • Sheila Coronel, director, Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Columbia University; former executive director, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
  • Manny Garcia, executive editor, El Nuevo Herald, Miami, leads international staff of journalists at one of the most important daily newspapers focused on Latin America.
  • Ginger Thompson – staff writer, The New York Times; former Mexico bureau chief for the Times, reports on international affairs.
  • Margo Smit, director, Dutch-Flemish Association of Investigative Journalists, University of Groningen journalism teacher, and TV news producer.
  • Bill Kovach, former New York Times reporter and Washington Bureau chief, founding chairman of Committee of Concerned Journalists and consultant to the Project for Excellence in Journalism

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