Australian journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, best known for social documentaries including Utopia and The War You Don’t See, has died aged 84.
His family announced his death on social media, saying Pilger’s journalism and documentaries were “celebrated around the world”.
“To his family he was simply the most amazing and loved Dad, Grandad and partner,” they wrote.
Son Sam wrote, “I am heartbroken, but also so very proud and grateful to have had such an amazing Dad. He was my hero.”
Pilger was widely acclaimed for his reporting from South-East Asia, including on conflicts in Vietnam, Cambodia and East Timor. He made a host of hard-hitting documentaries including Cambodia Year Zero which exposed the horrors of the Pol Pot regime and The Quiet Mutiny which exposed rebellion within the US army during the Vietnam war.
His documentaries won numerous awards, including an Emmy and a BAFTA, and he was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2009.
Pilger was awarded the Trustees Award at the The Grierson Trust British Documentary Awards in London for his achievements over the last 50 years. Trust chairman Dawn Airey credited him as “one of the world’s great documentary producers”.
“His work has uncovered atrocity, probed the underbelly of society, sparked controversy and challenged the heart of democracy,” she added.
Pilger was a staunch critic of Australia’s treatment of its Indigenous peoples.
He made a series of documentaries on the topic, including The Secret Country (1985), Welcome to Australia (1999) and Utopia (2013).
His documentary The War You Don’t See accused the BBC of failing to cover the viewpoint of those caught up in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Documentaries that break the code are an endangered species,” he once said, adding that new filmmakers were being encouraged to produce “a form of reality TV.”
“We need independent spirits as never before.”