ENTRIES for the tenth Paul Foot Award were of such a high standard the judges decided to recognise two outstanding campaigns and appoint joint winners of the Paul Foot Award 2014.
The winning campaigns, each of which received £3,000, were announced in a ceremony at Bafta in central London on Tuesday 24 February. The other five shortlisted campaigns received £1,000 each.
The Paul Foot Award Joint Winners 2014:
Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake
The Fifa Files
Over a period of a month in 2014 the Sunday Times Insight team spilled the secrets of a bombshell cache of hundreds of millions of secret documents, “The Fifa Files”, leaked by a whistleblower from the heart of football.
In forensic detail, they reported on an extraordinary campaign waged by Mohammed Bin Hammam, Qatar’s top football official, and how he exploited his position to help secure the votes Qatar needed to win the bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
The team spent two months in a secret data centre outside London painstakingly piecing together a timeline of Bin Hammam’s activities, going through emails, faxes, phone records, letters, flight logs, accounts and bank transfer slips, examining tens of thousands of gigabytes of data using forensic search technology and a network of offshore supercomputers.
They reported on cash hand outs, lavish junkets and evidence of payments to football officials across Africa - including the transfer of funds into bank accounts controlled by Jack Warner, the Fifa executive committee member for Trinidad and Tobago.
The Paul Foot Award Joint Winners 2014:
Richard Brooks and Andrew Bousfield
Shady Arabia and the Desert Fix
This campaign was the culmination of a long-running Private Eye investigation into corruption on a contract between the governments of the UK and Saudi Arabia.
In 2012, the team obtained details from a whistleblower of illicit payments and gifts made on a multi-billion pound contract to deliver electronic warfare equipment to the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Over the following two years the team unravelled the mechanisms of the bribery, revealed those who had accepted corrupt payments, and exposed the network behind the deal – as well as revealing the highly sensitive matter of the Ministry of Defence's complicity in bribery even as the Coalition government professed to be clamping down on corruption.
The team examined corporate records and other histories in the UK, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Liechtenstein, stretching back over 40 years. They revealed the names of officials who had been complicit in decades of bribery, with its origins in the earliest days of the British arms trade in Saudi. A few months after the story broke, the Serious Fraud Office announced a criminal investigation. It continues today.
The Paul Foot Award Runners-up 2014:
Richard Pendlebury, Daily Mail - Migrant Lives
Claire Newell, Holly Watt, Claire Duffin and Ben Bryant, Daily Telegraph - Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid
George Monbiot, The Guardian - How farmers caused the floods
Mark Townsend, The Observer - Sexual abuse of women at Yarl’s Wood
Dominic Ponsford and William Turvill, Press Gazette - Save Our Sources
Set up by Private Eye and The Guardian in memory of the campaigning journalist Paul Foot, the award has celebrated 10 years of brilliant investigative and campaigning journalism, acknowledging the tenacity, diligence and excellent reporting of some of the best journalists working in the UK today.
Paul Foot, an investigative journalist, editor and left-wing campaigner, worked variously for the Daily Record, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and Private Eye. He was involved in many high-profile campaigns throughout his illustrious career, including the Birmingham Six, the Bridgewater Four and the John Poulson scandal. His accolades include the Journalist of the Year, the Campaigning Journalist of the Year, the George Orwell Prize for Journalism and in 2000 he was honoured as the Campaigning Journalist of the Decade.
Paul Foot died in 2004 at the age of 66.
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