April 14, 2014; Reuters

The Guardian U.S.and the Washington Post were awarded the Pulitzer Prize on Monday for their coverage of National Security Agency (NSA) global electronic surveillance practices. This coverage was drawn, of course, from documents provided to them by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. These revelations have sparked national and international outrage and debate about the balance to be struck between privacy and civil rights on the one hand, and security on the other.

“We are particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting,” commented Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger. “And we share this honor not only with our colleagues at the Washington Post, but also with Edward Snowden, who risked so much in the cause of the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of this prestigious prize.”

Snowden remains in temporary asylum in Russia after being charged with violating the U.S. Espionage Act. His statement on the awards reads, in part:

“I am grateful to the committee for their recognition of the efforts of those involved in the last year’s reporting, and join others around the world in congratulating Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, Ewen MacAskill, and all of the others at the Guardian and Washington Post on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Today’s decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.

This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.”

—Ruth McCambridge