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John Pilger Writer Broadcaster political activist human rights campaigner
The death of John Pilger is a very sad loss to the whole movement. He was a fearless and honest journalist who was a major critic of western imperialism and whose experience of covering successive wars gave him a real insight into who benefits from the horror of war. He was a great friend of the anti-war movement in Britain and lent his powerful voice to a number of campaigns. He was a founder of Media Workers against the War during the first Gulf War in 1990-91 where he insisted on challenging the dominant media narratives.
He was noted for his reporting of Vietnam and Cambodia during the war there. But he also campaigned on issues as diverse as the plight of the Chagos islanders, what was happening to the NHS, the conditions of the indigenous population in his home country of Australia, and the imprisonment of Julian Assange.
However his great skills as a writer and film maker will perhaps be remembered most in his unrelenting opposition to war and its consequences. He wrote at various times for the Guardian and New Statesman, but was best known as Chief Foreign Correspondent of the Daily Mirror, and for his documentaries, many made for ITV’s World in Action.
Two that are pertinent today are Palestine is still the issue (made 20 years ago but as we are all too painfully aware still highly relevant) and The Coming War with China, about the growing militarism in the Pacific region. He spoke at Stop the War fundraisers where the latter was shown. He was an excellent and powerful speaker at demonstrations and public meetings.
Although sacked from the Mirror after the crook Robert Maxwell bought it, he continued to write powerful journalism including the famous Mirror front page in 2003 where he described Tony Blair as having blood on his hands over Iraq.
He was a principled investigative journalist which set him out from most of his peers and his death marks the end of an era. Condolences to his partner Jane, to his children and grandchildren and all who loved him. His work will live on.