Google prize goes to Argentine news analysis of Nisman probe, death
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Google prize goes to Argentine news analysis of Nisman probe, death

La Nacion Data Argentina recognized for its innovation in reporting on alleged Iranian ties to Jewish center bombing and mysterious shooting of special prosecutor who claimed government cover-up

Argentina's public prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, gives a news conference in Buenos Aires, May 20, 2009. (JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
Argentina's public prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, gives a news conference in Buenos Aires, May 20, 2009. (JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

An Argentine news outlet’s investigation into the death of Jewish special prosecutor Alberto Nisman won a national prize from Google Argentina and the National Forum of Professional Journalists.

The national “Innovative and Digital Award” was announced during the 6th National Congress of Digital Journalism, organized by the National Forum of Professional Journalists, or FOPEA.

La Nacion Data Argentina analyzed 40,000 audio recordings from the tapped phone of an Iranian agent over two years, publishing the findings and developing a news app to search by topic or person.

Google Argentina recognized “the exploration and testing of different technologies to achieve the journalistic objective, one of which was the voice recognition to achieve an accurate transcription of the audios,”of the wiretaps that Nisman presented as evidence of his accusation of a government cover-up.

“The technology was unable to fulfill this task satisfactorily and this marks a way for Google and other industry companies to continue working on developing more and better tools.”

Activists take part in a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the controversial death of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman, in Buenos Aires, January 18, 2017. (AFP/EITAN ABRAMOVICH)
Activists take part in a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the controversial death of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman, in Buenos Aires, January 18, 2017. (AFP/EITAN ABRAMOVICH)

Nisman had accused the Argentine government of covering up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, which killed 85 and injured 300.

The data analysis conducted by 120 volunteers discovered several ties to Iran including evidence that Iran’s local community paid bail to help a local activist accused of being a member of the violent movement Quebracho and that national senator from an official government party was discovered to be an active lobbyist for the Iranian government in partnership with local businessmen;

In addition, it was revealed that Iran financed a local activist movement in favor of the Kirchner government for leading demonstrations and protests against the US Embassy.

A federal judge requested that evidence from the transcribed recordings be used in the investigation against former Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, who is accused of treason in Argentina in a lawsuit filed by fathers of two AMIA bombing victims.

Nisman, a Jewish prosecutor, was found shot to death on January 18, 2015, hours before he was to present his allegations of a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the bombing of the AMIA center in Buenos Aires. His allegations named then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Timerman and the government as co-conspirators in a cover-up.

Whether Nisman’s shooting in his apartment was murder or self-inflicted has yet to be determined.

The La Nacion data investigation is also shortlisted for the global Data Journalism Awards.

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