Rappler investigation into war on drugs wins 2019 Global Shining Light Award

Jodesz Gavilan

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Rappler investigation into war on drugs wins 2019 Global Shining Light Award
The 6-month investigation found strong indications that police were outsourcing killings



HAMBURG, Germany – A Rappler investigative series on President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign won the 2019 Global Shining Light Award of the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN). 

The award was given on Saturday, September 28, at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Hamburg, Germany.

The 7-part Murder in Manila series, published daily beginning October 4, 2018, focused on the local chapter of a vigilante gang in Tondo, Manila, whose members had been arrested for killing drug suspects and small-time criminals, including a 16-year-old boy.

The story was written and investigated by Patricia Evangelista, photographed by Magnum fellow Carlo Gabuco, with reports by justice reporter Lian Buan and police reporter Rambo Talabong. The investigative team, Newsbreak, is headed by editor and Rappler co-founder Chay Hofileña.

The 6-month investigation found strong indications that the police were outsourcing extrajudicial killings to the Confederate Sentinels Group — a group of force multipliers they had also accused of murder.

The series won alongside the #GuptaLeaks investigation by Daily Maverick from South Africa under the “Large Outlets” category, besting 10 other finalists.

The Global Shining Light Awards honors “investigative journalism conducted in developing or transitioning countries, done under threat, duress, or in the direst of conditions.” 

More than 290 entries were received by the GIJN for 2019.

Peru-based IDL-Reporteros’ Car Wash/White Collars that explored transnational corruption, meanwhile, won in the “small outlets” category.

This is the second award for Rappler’s Murder in Manila series. It won the Excellence in Human Rights Reporting Award and Excellence in Investigative Reporting Award of the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) in May 2019. 

Duterte’s violent drug war has been highly criticized for its high number of deaths. 

More than 6,000 people were killed in police operations alone. Human rights groups, however, estimate the numbers could reach almost 27,000 to include victims of vigilante-style killings. (READ: The Impunity Series– Rappler.com


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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.