Legendary Australian Journalist John Pilger Has Died, Aged 84


John Pilger, unarguably the most recognised Australian journalist anywhere on the planet, has passed away in London.

He was aged 84.

John had been battling illness since mid-2023. The news was announced on John’s Facebook page a short time ago.

“It is with great sadness the family of John Pilger announce he died yesterday 30 December 2023 in London aged 84. 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. Rest In Peace,” the post read.

John was twice awarded Britain’s Journalist of the Year, and his work has received numerous accolades around the world including from the British Film and Television Awards, and the Sydney Peace Prize in 2009.

John was a regular contributor to New Matilda, and a staunch ally of jailed Australian publisher Julian Assange, a campaign which engulfed much of the last decade of Pilger’s life. But it was his work on documentaries for which he was known globally. His first documentary, The Quiet Mutiny, was released in 1970 after a visit to Vietnam. His most recent work was The Dirty War on the NHS, an investigation into the assault on Britain’s health system.

John had a strong and enduring interest in Indigenous affairs. His book The Secret Country became renowned internationally for blowing the lid on the Australian Government’s treatment of its Aboriginal people. He turned the book into a film in 1985, and then completed several more documentaries on the First Australians, including Utopia in 2014, with New Matilda editor Chris Graham, and former New Matilda writer Amy McQuire.

John was also a friend of the Palestinian people. In 1977, he released a documentary entitled ‘Palestine is Still The Issue’. He released a new documentary in 2002 with the same name.

In total, he’s produced more than 50 documentaries. but it was Year Zero (1979), about the aftermath of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, which launched John into the journalism stratosphere. John was amongst the first journalists into Cambodia after the collapse of the regime, and when his documentary for ITV aired in Great Britain, it shocked the conscience of a nation. It also broke records, raking in almost $50 million in fundraising to assist the people of Cambodia.

John remained a prolific writer throughout his life, and has published countless articles and at least a dozen books.

New Matilda will release more detailed tributes to John Pilger in the coming days.

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.