Noteworthy Journalistic Projects of 2023

The stories that captivated iMEdD’s journalists’ attention.

Hardline EU governments in late push to legitimise surveillance of journalists

> By Investigate Europe

“It is surreal that in the year 2023 in Europe, we are facing the possibility of legitimating the surveillance of journalists, especially at a period when much ink has been spilled over the ‘Pegasus Project’ and the ‘Predator Files’ revelations. The future impact of such a possibility could be disastrous not only for journalists’ freedom of expression and the public interest but also for European civil society.

It is even more surreal that this discussion is not initiated from circles outside the institutions but from European governments that use ‘national security’ as an excuse to pursue the use of spyware against journalists. Governments whose primary role is to safeguard fundamental rights such as freedom of expression.”

Nikos Aronis, project manager ideas zone & incubator, journalist

Corredor furtivo

> By, El Pais, supported by Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigative Network and Earthrise Media

Find the English version HERE

“A breathtaking blend of advanced tools, artificial intelligence and good old collaborative reporting uncovered the scale of illegal mining hiding deep in the Venezuelan Jungle. The investigation was carried out by, El Pais, supported by Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigative Network and Earthrise Media. Rightfully among the winners of the Global Shining Light Award by GIJN.”

Dimitris Bounias, project manager ideas zone & incubator, journalist

Inside the Suspicion Machine


“Obscure government algorithms are making life-changing decisions about millions of people around the world. Here, for the first time, we reveal how one of these systems works.”

Dimitris Elafropoulos, intern, journalist

“A meticulously detailed investigation and an exemplary piece of digital storytelling that delves into algorithmic bias and state accountability—interconnected issues in the era of digital governance. As a year focused on all things AI comes to an end, looking back to this investigation serves as a powerful reminder for journalists that reporting with algorithms is no longer sufficient; now,reporting on algorithms is imperative.”

Kelly Kiki, project manager Lab, data journalist

The Repatriation Project

> By Propublica

“It’s mind-boggling that in the year 2023 renowned and progressive U.S. institutions (including my own university!) continue to hold over 100,000 Native American remains and sacred items which they have not returned to their descendants, despite a law passed decades ago. It’s a great example of an underreported story with historical resonance, and with exemplary community research and data visualization, to boot.”

Phoebe Fronista, journalist

Amazon Underworld

> By Amazon Underworld

“To what extent do organised crime groups control various regions in the Amazon, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth? The murder of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira on the Amazon’s Itaquaí River in 2022, as they were returning from a reporting trip, sounded a distressing alarm for journalists and media organisations worldwide.

Amazon Underworld is a collaborative investigation in which 37 journalists and media professionals from 11 countries mapped the presence of armed groups across rarely explored corners of the Amazon to understand its criminal ecosystem.”

Stefaniya Ibrishimova, journalist

Cyprus Confidential project

> By ICIJ and 68 media partners

“3.6 million leaked documents reveal Russian money flowing through Cyprus’ banking system, exploiting weak EU financial laws. The extensive eight-month investigation by 270 journalists from over 50 countries uncovers that the ‘Cyprus model’ transfers wealth to the West, aiding not only Russians but potentially the Assad regime and a spyware company.”

 Athina Thanasi, communication officer, journalist 

“An international project that shows how Russian billionaires use financial services firms on Cyprus to hide their wealth and keep it out of reach from western sanctions. ‘Cyprus Confidential’ also reveals unknown aspects of the Greek wiretapping scandal.”

Kostas Koukoumakas, journalist

European universities accept €260 million in fossil fuel money

> By Investigate Europe and openDemocracy

“A compelling statement regarding the funding of European universities and their extensive financial relationships with the fossil fuel industry. The investigation brings to light the questionable practice of universities accepting funds and reveals a contrast between their commitments to achieving net-zero targets.”

Chrysoula Marinou, data journalist

Under the unwatchful eye of the authorities’ deactivated cameras: dying in the darkest depths of the Mediterranean

> By Solomon in collaboration with Forensis, The Guardian and ARD

“An investigation presenting the tracing of the course that the fishing vessel Adriana took until it sank,outside the coast of Pylos, Greece, causing over 600 people to drown, while under the supervision of Greek and European authorities. This exemplary won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize.”

Anastasia Moumtzaki, project manager Bridge, content & production manager SNF Dialogues, journalist

” Showcasing journalistic skill and investigative depth, this collaborative work of
Solomon, Forensis, Guardian and ARD sheds light on one of the deadliest shipwrecks the Mediterranean has ever known.

George Schinas, journalist

Greece Says It Doesn’t Ditch Migrants at Sea. It Was Caught in the Act.

> By New York Times

“Pushbacks have been a thorn on Greece’s (and Europe’s) humanitarian side exposing the ineffective and morally debatable   way to deal with refugees’ streams. Greek government’s officials (and even the Greek prime minister himself) refused this unequivocally, trying to undermine local and international media stories which explained how pushbacks were happening. 

This video evidence by the New York Times showed beyond any doubt that ‘Greece was caught in the act of ditching migrants at sea’ as the title reads. Less than one month later 600 people drowned in Pylos in one of the most devastating stories of the year.”

Panagiotis Menegos, content & production manager podcasts, journalist

“This is the most important investigation regarding the refugee crisis, proving beyond doubt that Greece is engaging in illegal pushbacks, thereby putting the lives of migrants at risk and breaking national, European, and international laws.”

Thanasis Troboukis, head of Lab, SNF Dialogues content advisor, data journalist

Zara fuels climate crisis with thousands of tons of airborne fashion

> By Public Eye

“The fact that big fashion industries take advantage of their workers who have to work under terrible conditions all day long in order to produce cheap garments is already known. The fact that the textiles used are far from sustainable and recyclable is also known.

However, what about transport-related greenhouse gas emissions produced by a garment transported by air from the production sites to the thousands of stores worldwide? This investigation by the Public Eye tracks down the supply chain of clothes produced by Inditex (which includes brands such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, etc) and reveals the increase in CO2 emissions due to the so-called airborne fashion.”

Giolanta Ntamadaki, content producer SNF Dialogues

Forests in the furnace: Cambodia’s garment sector is fueled by illegal logging

> By Mongabay

“Deforestation in Cambodia is a huge underreported problem. This piece sheds light on how illegal logging in protected areas powers fast-fashion garment factories. Who does the supply chain involve from factories to middlemen to loggers? How do local populations, stuck in illegal logging ‘poverty-traps’, feel about their future livelihood? Can sustainability win?”

Celia Tsigka, content producer SNF Dialogues

Rich nations say they’re spending billions to fight climate change. Some money is going to strange places.

> By Reuters

“Developed nations have committed to channeling some US$100 billion per year to finance activities in developing countries that aim to mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change. However Journalists found a concerning lack of transparency and details in these reports, as well as projects that seem to have little or nothing to do with reducing emissions or managing the effects of climate change.”

Nota Vafea, operations manager, journalist

Story Killers

> By Forbidden Stories

“2024 will be a pivotal year for global elections. It’s crucial to spotlight disinformation and harassment tactics against journalists during campaigns. ‘Story Killers’ is a collaboration of over 100 reporters that unveils the deadly disinformation-for-hire industry. I was inspired by the late journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder, and it exposes the alarming threats faced by journalists in election contexts.”

Katerina Voutsina, journalist