OCCRP’s Rana Sabbagh wins prestigious ICFJ Knight Trailblazer Award 2024

Published: 12 June 2024

Rana SabbaghRana Sabbagh, winner of the ICFJ Knight Trailblazer Award 2024. (Photo: OCCRP)


The International Center for Journalists, ICFJ, bestowed its Knight Trailblazer Award 2024 on Rana Sabbagh, senior editor for the MENA region at the OCCRP, for her pioneering role in building a vibrant investigative journalism movement across the Arab world to expose wrongdoing among officials.

The Washington-based international nonprofit that helps build the expertise and storytelling skills of reporters worldwide made the announcement on Wednesday citing Sabbagh’s work and career over four decades operating in one of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists.

Sabbagh will be honored on November 14 at the 40th Anniversary ICFJ Tribute to Journalists in Washington, D.C. along with John-Allan Namu, a reporter and media entrepreneur from Kenya, and Valeriya Yegoshyna, an investigative reporter from Ukraine. The two won the ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award.

“These journalists stand out for their brave work exposing abuses of power, in places where it is both highly challenging and dangerous,” ICFJ President Sharon Moshavi said. “From corruption to war crimes, the outstanding journalism they have done has led to greater accountability and change.”

Sabbagh is the first Arab to win the ICFJ Trailblazer Award since its launch three years ago.

“ICFJ applauds your contributions to the highest quality journalism, the impact of your work and the standards you have set and maintained for media in your region and around the world,” said Maggie Farley, Senior Director, ICFJ Knight Fellowships.

Sabbagh co-founded Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), the region’s world’s first and only regional center promoting the hitherto unknown culture of investigative journalism in newsrooms, and at Arab universities.

She has trained a generation of investigative reporters and editors and overseen the production of hundreds of public interest stories, often at great risk to herself.

She has mentored journalists from Egypt to Gaza to Syria and beyond, some of whom have gone on to work for global news outlets and produce award-winning reports.

Sabbagh continues to produce hard-hitting stories as senior editor for the MENA region for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) since 2020.

“Rana Sabbagh isn't just a journalist but a teacher and mentor, working with journalists to show them the power of investigations and giving them an outlet for their work beyond the Middle East,” said Jacqueline Charles, an ICFJ Knight Award judge, former ICFJ award winner and journalist for The Miami Herald.