RIP John Pilger


John Pilger, Australian journalist and filmmaker, dies at 84

John Pilger, an Australia-born journalist and documentary filmmaker known for his coverage of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, has died, his family said overnight. He was 84.

A statement from his family, posted on X, formerly Twitter, said Pilger died over the weekend in London.

“His journalism and documentaries were celebrated around the world, but to his family he was simply the most amazing and loved dad, grandad and partner,” the statement said.

Pilger, who has been based in Britain since 1962, worked for Britain’s left-leaning Daily Mirror newspaper, broadcaster ITV’s investigative program World In Action and for the Reuters news agency.

He won an International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award for his 1979 film Year Zero: The Silent Death Of Cambodia, which revealed the extent of the Khmer Rouge’s atrocities.

He followed that with a 1990 documentary titled Cambodia: The Betrayal, which examined international complicity in the Khmer Rouge remaining a threat.

He also won acclaim for a 1974 documentary looking into the campaign for compensation for children after concerns were raised about birth defects when expectant mothers took the drug Thalidomide.

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Pilger was known for his opposition to American and British foreign policy, and he was also highly critical of Australia’s treatment of its Indigenous population.

In more recent years, he campaigned for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has fought a lengthy battle against extradition to the United States.

Kevin Lygo, managing director of media and entertainment at ITV, described Pilger as “a giant of campaigning journalism” who offered viewers a level of analysis and opinion that was rare in mainstream television.

“He had a clear, distinctive editorial voice which he used to great effect throughout his distinguished filmmaking career. His documentaries were engaging, challenging and always very watchable,” Lygo said.

“He eschewed comfortable consensus and instead offered a radical, alternative approach on current affairs and a platform for dissenting voices over 50 years,” he added.


What a dreadful start to the new year!

John Pilger was one of the most important global journalists of the 20th Century.

His courage and dedication to holding the powerful to account is unequaled in the Western media.

He was one of the most important journalists to inspire me personally and his refusal to back down is the benchmark of what investigative journalists should aspire to.

His work to expose the West’s despicable role in creating the horror in Cambodia, his work to fight for Thalidomide compensation, his work against racism in Australia, his work at critiquing the madness of the West’s invasion of Iraq and the hypocrisy of Western Foreign Policy and his stand with Assange while others ran away mark him out as a unique voice, a voice we so desperately needed now as the geopolitics of 2024 explode.

We are a poorer planet without him on it.

RIP John – you did more for fearless journalism than the combined weight of most of the industry.


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  1. Didn’t he also do a book about US links to Goff Whitlam’s departure? I think it was called ‘A Secret Country’ or something close to that. Also did an interesting Netflix documentary on the Pacific and China and the way China is being portrayed as the aggressor

  2. “Pilgar was a bit young back in the 90s ”

    Er… He was in his 50s. Even at seventy-five I don’t consider that a bit young.

  3. And yet there is absolute silence when it comes to Pilger’s reporting on Ukraine and China .He apparently was deemed to have “lost it”, no longer published by the Guardian, senility had apparently hit when his views about propaganda as it applied to the “threat” from China and the war in Ukraine were aired .
    He maintained that he’d never experienced worse propaganda when it comes to these two conflicts .

    • Yes he clearly lost it later on becoming an apologist for totalitarianism. One rabbit hole too many.
      Well respected and best remembered for (only) his early stuff.

      • Rubbish, what Pilger came to realise is that the US led west is the most destructive force in the world, we are the bad guys and our corporate media has the role of hiding this and projecting anyone else as the bad guys.

        But the mask has well and truly slipped as we are in the midst of two terrible events, both the fault of the west. Firstly the Ukraine situation was fomented with NATO expansion after promises not to, then the Maidan coup. Secondly Genocide of the Palestinians where the west is unbelievably supporting Israel! Even beyond these the mad US wants a fight with China and Iran.

        The US led west are the baddies and Pilger was demonised for telling us that to our faces.

  4. Don’t forget Pilger’s 2002 documentary , Palestine is Still the Issue

    And it is still so true today!!


  5. I thought that his works on East Timor and on Palestine were also worthy pieces of journalism. Sad to see that a truly brilliant journalist has gone.

  6. ‘They’ don’t make them like him anymore. A big chunk of real journalism has died along with him.
    May he RIP but also give the likes of Kissinger and other murderous bastards hell wherever he may be.

  7. Pilger was stunning one of the best – and there are only half a dozen of them in the entire world.
    I read Heroes and was stunned by it.
    I later read A Secret Country – great stuff, every Aussie should read it.
    I heard him at a socialist conference in Melbourne.
    We are much the poorer for his death. But his legacy will live on.

    When I was working in parliament John Campbell phoned up and I said to him that I read somewhere that he was the president of the Pilger fan club, I said to him, no no that is not right, I wrote to Pilger in the eighties and he replied I am the president you must be the secretary, we had a good laugh about that.

  8. Free Assange.

    The lack of coverage and the lack of editorial support for a fellow journalist/publisher/whistleblower by the NZ main stream media is appalling.

    The NZ Free Speech Union won’t even make a comment on journalistic freedom to support Assange, (why?).

    Pilger was a brave man.

  9. The collective works of John Pilger’s incisive reporting – faithfully, fearlessly speaking truth to power, stands in stark contrast to most of all else that claims to serve the public’s right to know, but which, in truth, has always served power before people. Vale John Pilger, but the fight goes on.

  10. I remember Kim Hill’s snotty attempt to pillory Pilger.
    Would that she had an iota of his moral sense!
    I have read so much of his work.
    He educated and enlightened me .
    He gave me the knowledge to understand and read Robert Fisk, Assange, Edward Snowden, Glen Greenwald , Max Blumenthal, Johnathan Cook, Norman Finkelstein, Caitlin Johnstone Information Clearing House etc etc.
    His legacy will not be forgotten

    • Assuming we are referring to the same event i found it was an interesting interview, it’s combativeness quite shocked me when listening to it live at the time.
      From memory it occurred within days or hours of the launch of Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq.
      Pilger was livid. I felt Hill copped a lot of his general frustration over the drumbeat of western US propaganda and the media’s failure to address it.
      Pilger angrily spat at Hill saying he obviously had to deconstruct the biases she imbedded within her very questions. And I seem to recall that, as had Geoffrey Archer in an earlier interview with Hill, he stated that he had been warned or was aware of Hill’s style.
      I was then and remain a bit of a fan of both Hill and Pilger, and felt that he really started the interview predisposed toward a fight, in many ways i don’t blame him, they were very dark times for the truth. But on the other hand, Hill was also doing her job, and doing it well. She really wasn’t anti his stance at all, or at least her questioning couldn’t be fairly interpreted to indicate that.
      In my view it would have been better if he had addressed any biases he claimed she presented in a calm and dispassionate manner rather than caustically attack her personally. The tactic he used only degraded his gravitas. Unless of course, one was predisposed to enjoy and cheer-on anybody who had the guts to take a crack at Kim Hill.
      I agreed with his viewpoint, but his demeanour on that date was poor.

  11. R.I.P a true journalist holding the powerful to account campaigning on behalf of an Australian citizen illegally detained and tortured in the Belmarsh prison of England even interviewing his own people questioning their european supremacist attitude towards the Aboriginal community.

    Free Julian Assange

  12. I read his book ‘Hero’s’ while in Cambodia nearly thirty years ago. I met a lot of deformed children, one legged farmers and saw other things that I can hardly allow myself to remember. Dirty little kissinger died at 101. Glorious Pilger dead at 84. I’m trying to see God’s divine justice here.
    This is also well worth a watch.
    ‘The Post.’
    “Set in 1971, The Post depicts the true story of attempts by journalists at The Washington Post to publish the infamous Pentagon Papers, a set of classified documents regarding the 20-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War and earlier in French Indochina back to the 1940s.”
    The Daily Blog plays a similar role. The weak-tea main stream media here has been drained of its courage and fortitude by the criminal rich who cowardly hide behind their tacky Mc Mansions while feeding the greed of the rapacious privateer monsters who own and operate us. The Daily Blog steps up while no one else does, and that makes for a noble history worthy of respect. The politic we have today is a forgettable embarrassment wrapped up in the humiliations of those fools who voted for it.

  13. ” We are a poorer planet without him on it. ”

    His kind are rare and his insight , long gone humanity , values and courage will be lamented long after he has gone by those of us that relied on his studious examination and reporting of major conflicts , injustices and the agendas behind them hidden in the shadows with no oversight or investigation even when that risked his life and that of his family in the pursuit of truth and holding the powerful to account.

    We have lost another soldier in the ongoing war against everything evil being done , even here in God’s own country.

    Go well John and thank you for standing for the pursuit of truth and injustice but even more importantly ensuring that truth was never the first casualty in all of the wars and struggles of so many.

  14. I hope someone with pluck will come along and pick up Pilger’s baton and challenge.

    It seems that the fight is bright in Australia! Now we should get behind Julian Assange who is approaching in February the test as to whether British steel can still measure up to its old slightly flexible standards. Now it is out of Europe Bye-Brexit and bowing to the USA can they say nay to the power of the new corporate pirates?

  15. Pilger was a great enthusing journalist on Kim Hill’s radio show pre 2000. I felt like I was walking on air after hearing their interviews on my transistor, doing numb-nut work. Won’t talk about the disillusionment post 2000.

    Never cottoned to Assange.

    Egos are bigger on the Left.

  16. Generally a good voice for the unrepresented, but sad that he was duped by Putin towards the end. Same happened to Chomsky.

  17. Legend by old world – holding power to account – media standards. Silenced in today’s – cheer leading for the powerful – media standards.



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