This report was the result of a three-year undercover investigation, and its impact was significant and immediate. Al Jazeera producer Peter Charley constructed a pro-gun organisation, Gun Rights Australia, and appointed Rodger Muller as its “founder and president” in an effort to infiltrate the National Rifle Association in the United States. Muller used concealed cameras to film meetings within the US gun lobby group.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party was shown to have sought up to $20million from the gun lobby and to have indicated that, in return, it would do its best to water down Australia’s gun laws.
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit was founded in 2011 and since then its documentaries have won more than 30 international awards. Executive producer Peter Charley formerly worked for The Sydney Morning Herald and SBS, and edited the ABC’s Lateline.
Charley was a joint winner of the 2000 Walkley Award for International Journalism. He reported “How to Sell a Massacre” and produced it alongside Claudianna Blanco; the editor was Brisbane resident Adrian Billing.
“A great sting that had impact on several fronts, both in Australia and in the US with the revelations about the NRA. Three years of work, then that investigation went off like a gunshot. Some critics were uncomfortable with producer Peter Charley’s use of hidden cameras and the subterfuge involved in nailing down the story.
“The judges acknowledged these concerns but felt there was an overriding public interest in the report, which could not have been told effectively any other way. The ramifications were immense and the public interest undeniable.”