Australian world-renowned journalist, author and film-maker
Sydney Peace Prize Citation: For work as an author, film-maker and journalist as well as for courage as a foreign and war correspondent in enabling the voices of the powerless to be heard. For commitment to peace with justice by exposing and holding governments to account for human rights abuses and for fearless challenges to censorship in any form.
Sydney Peace Prize Lecture: Breaking Australia’s Silence
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Sydney Peace Foundation Director Professor Stuart Rees noted that “the jury was impressed by John’s courage as well as by his skills and creativity. His commitment to uncovering human rights abuses shines through his numerous books, films and articles. His work inspires all those who value peace with justice.”
Speaking from London about news of this award, John Pilger responded: “Coming from my homeland and the city where I was born and grew up, this is an honour I shall cherish, with the hope that it encourages young Australian journalists, writers and film-makers to break the silences that perpetuate injustice both far away and close to home.”
Examples of his work include an account of the British and American governments’ secret ‘mass kidnappings’ of a whole population of the Chagos Islands in the Indian ocean to make way for an American military base. His 1979 film Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia depicted the horrors of the Pol Pot regime and the plight of the Khmer people. In 1994, Death of a Nation, shot under cover in East Timor, galvanized world wide support for the East Timorese people. His re-making of the film Palestine is Still the Issue reminds the world of a continuing occupation and cruel injustice.