Guardian News and Media editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger has been awarded a European Press Prize for overseeing the paper's publication of the Edward Snowden files.
Judges said Rusbridger "endured many months of official threats and denunciations to publish the basic facts of Edward Snowden files with cool precision and much eloquence in argument".
The Guardian was privately urged by senior Government officials to stop its publication of the leaked material from the NSA whistleblower and to return the documents.
Last year the paper agreed to destroy the hard drives containing the Snowden documents, overseen by officials from GCHQ, after first ensuring copies were kept overseas.
Other winners for the 2013 European Press Prize include two reporters for Dagbladet in Oslo, Espen Sandli and Linn Kongsli Hillestad, for their "ground-breaking data journalism" and Reuters journalists Steve Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati for an investigative account of the wealth of Iran's Supreme Leader.
The prize – now in its second year – is judged by a panel of senior editorial figures from five countries and includes Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans, now editor-at-large for Reuters.
Evans said: "We were dazzled by the quality of entries this year. By exploring issues of public concern with diligence, honesty, independence, editorial skill, and courage – yes all those adjectives – they exemplified why the free press is at the essence of a civilised society."