Sri Lankan journalist wins global award in investigative journalism

Sonali Samarasinghe’s work to reveal misuse of power and corruption in Sri
Lanka made her the second winner of the Global Shining Light Award Saturday
at GIJC.

Sonali Samarasinghe’s work to reveal misuse of power and corruption in Sri
Lanka made her the second winner of the Global Shining Light Award Saturday
at GIJC.

I cannot accept this prize without remembering my colleagues in Sri Lanka.
This year, 12 journalists have been killed, and one has been held hostage
for 180 days, Sonali Samarasinghe said when she has brought to stage to
receive the Global Shining Light Award.

Her colleague has been in custody for 180 days, detained under the
Prevention of Terrorism Act. He is working for the Sri Lankian weekly
newspaper Sunday Times.

Samarasinghe was awarded for her articles on “Gangsterism and the faulty
legal system” for The Sunday Leader in Sri Lanka.

Sonali Samarasinghe and the Sunday Leader decided enough was enough. What
started out as an attempt to follow-up on the beating of a bar patron by
the son and body guards of a powerful government minister became an
investigation that exposed how that government minister used his power and
connections to the Prime Minister, to run roughshod over the media and the
justice system. Samarasinghe tracked down all the people connected to the
beating and in the process found many other people, including police
officers and lawyers with stories of corruption and brutality by the
government minister and his son.

Hopefully, this award will show that our work does not pass unnoticed
internationally, the prize-winning journalist said on stage.

The international award of the Daniel Pearl award 2008 went to the Swedish
reporters from TV4 who investigated the story of the illegal cod trade.

The International consortium of investigative journalists give out the
award, which is in the memory of the Wall Street journal journalist Daniel
Pearl, who was slain by the Pakistani militants in 2002.

This would be impossible to do without the help from journalists in other
countries, Fredrik Laurin from the investigative team said.

The US award went to Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker for the project “A
toxic pipeline”.

The special award went to Loretta Tofani for her Salt Lake Tribune Series
“American Imports, Chinese Deaths”.

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