FUGITIVE Edward Snowden has helped newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic win a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of secret surveillance by the US National Security Agency.

The Glasgow University rector went to The Guardian and The Washington Post with his damning documents which revealed details of the organisation's global electronic spying on people.

Mr Snowden went into hiding after the revelations sparked deep embarrassment for the US and debate about the relationship between the US government and the public over issues of security and privacy.

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US President Barack Obama to introduce curbs on the spying powers of the National Security Agency earlier this year.

Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger, which received the award with the Post said that he would share the honour with Mr Snowden "who risked so much in the cause of the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of this prestigious prize."

He added: "We are particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting,"

Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum last year after the US Justice Department charged him with violating the Espionage Act.

The prestigious prizes, awarded by Columbia University, are given in 14 categories of journalism as well as drama, music, poetry and books.

Named after journalist and publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the awards are decided by a 19-member panel.