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Many journalists join RSF’s complaint against NSO over Pegasus spyware

Reporters Without Borders has sent cases of journalists to the United Nations for further action

About 17 journalists from seven countries who were listed last month as potential or actual victims of Pegasus spyware have filed complaints with prosecutors in Paris against the NSO Group.

The Reporters Without Borders organisation has referred these cases to the UN special rapporteurs, asking them to seek explanations from the governments suspected of using Pegasus to spy on journalists.

Their complaints complement the one Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and two journalists with French-Moroccan dual nationality who have already filed complaints on July 20.

The RSF organisation had even included NSO Group in its list of “digital predators” last year.

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-arms firm. It can be covertly installed on mobile phones running most versions of iOS and Android.

The 17 journalists – two each from Azerbaijan and Hungary, five each from India and Mexico, and one each from Morocco, Spain and Togo – were among 200 journalists on a list of persons identified last month by the Pegasus Project investigation as potential targets or actual victims of clandestine surveillance by NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

The plaintiffs know that they were spied on by their governments for having carried out independent reporting in public interest.

A number of the plaintiffs have been facing verbal attacks by their governments for years. Among them are Morocco’s Hicham Mansouri and India’s Swati Chaturvedi, who was awarded the RSF Press Freedom Prize for Courage in 2018.

Some were even spied on by the foreign governments such as Spain’s Ignacio Cembrero, who was almost certainly the victim of surveillance by the government of Morocco.

“No doubts must remain”

“The complaints filed by these journalists, who are from every continent, confirm the scale of the surveillance carried out with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware,” RSF spokesperson Pauline Adès-Mével said.

“The investigation should identify all those involved, whether company executives or senior government officials in the countries concerned. In the face of a scandal so fraught with consequences for press freedom, no doubts must remain.:

The veil must be lifted completely and justice must be done, Pauline added.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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