Winner 2002

File On 4: Export Controls

BBC Radio 4

Broadcast on the day the British Parliament discussed Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, this investigation revealed how other “rogue” nations, including Iran, had illicitly procured sensitive equipment from British companies for use in their nuclear arms programs. Based on detailed, original research conducted by Reporter Allan Urry, in both Britain and the United States, the program highlighted serious weaknesses in the United Kingdom’s system of controls over the export of so-called “dual-use” material. Because of the sensitive nature of the subject, it was not an easy story to tell. There was little incentive for individuals or companies to talk to reporters, and the program received no cooperation from Government or from the British Customs Service. Despite this, the program makers produced strong evidence, with a range of case studies and with first-hand testimony from those involved, including a face-to-face interview with a man accused of being an Iranian government agent. File on 4, executive produced by David Ross and produced by Jenny Chryss, is a long-running current affairs documentary strand broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Britain’s main speech radio network. As a tribute to the rigor of the small production team (a producer, a reporter and their editor) whose facts stood up to challenge and for investigative reporting of both national and international importance, File on 4: Export Controls receives a Peabody Award.