Life and Legacy of John Pilger

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“In this page-turner, discover Pilger’s clandestine encounters with governmental abuses, from the heart-wrenching aftermath of Cambodia’s Year Zero to the relentless pursuit of justice for the Palestinians facing brutal treatment. The echoes of his journalistic prowess resonate in the corridors of power, challenging the imperialist agenda of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.”

Pilger’s lifelong commitment to truth

It emphasises Pilger’s lifelong commitment to unravel the truth. He is an unwavering truth-seeker whose critique of foreign policies by the United States of America, Australia and the United Kingdom is remarkable. True to his unwavering principle of truth-telling, he exposes the injustices, wrongs and exploitations of the states and corporations. From the start of his career, he exhibited intrepidity in challenging established media narratives and offered a counternarrative, an alternative view through his print words documentaries and talks.

John Pilger: Biography of a Journalist and Filmmaker’s Legacy and Critique of Western Policies (Kindle Edition, 2024) by Julian S. Rogers is an interesting read for the following reasons:

Three global issues and more

It sheds light on Pilger’s fearless journalism and documentary-making prowess in three conflict-zones:

i) Pilger is well known for his critique of policies of the United States, particularly in relation to the Vietnam War, where he made groundbreaking works by exposing the sordid reality faced by both soldiers and civilians.

ii) In his home country, Australia, he advocates for the causes of the forgotten Australian Aboriginals and indigenous peoples.

iii) His lifelong commitment to the Palestinian cause. Through his writings, documentaries, social media posts, and public statements, he consistently highlights the plight of the Palestinians. He is acerbic in his criticism of the Israeli government for the violations of human rights. He believes in a free Palestinian state.

iv)His support for Julian Assange, the Australian journalist and founder of WikiLeaks, adds another dimension to his journalistic career. His solidarity with Assange and Australian whistleblower David McBride, comparing their struggles to the historical figure of Spartacus, makes him a rare journalist with the rarest virtue of honesty and truth.

Documentary filmmaker

His documentaries, with raw footage and visceral images, tell the stories of the marginalized across the continents. They highlight the diverse realities of different countries. From “The Quiet Mutiny (1970), depicting the Vietnam War’s dismal aftermath, to “Year Zero” (1979), bringing the atrocities in Cambodia post-Pol Pot, Pilger’s lens focuses on the human toll and oppression to the fore. His last documentary, “The Dirty War on the NHS” (2019), demonstrated his tireless dedication to exposing systematic issues of British health policies.

Pilger’s legacy

Pilger’s legacy is best in his lifelong commitment to telling challenging power structures and giving voice to the voiceless. Journalism points beyond the surface, dealing with the complex cities of global conflicts, exposing systematic justice, and scrutinizing the actions of powerful entities. The core of Pilger’s legacy lies in the transformative power of journalism as a tool for social change through print articles, documentaries, and public advocation, short-to-earth hidden truths amplifying narratives explaining stories of those marginalised or ignored to the four points of global constructions.

Marketability prowess

Maintaining financial success with journalistic integrity became a hallmark of his career. In the field of investigative journalism, “where adherence to truth often collided with external pressure, Pilger demonstrated a rare equilibrium.” How? It is through his ability to lay bare hidden agendas and hidden truths and challenge popular media narratives by the established media conglomerates. He has a global audience, and they have an appetite for the challenging stories Pilger offers. Pilger finds a market hungry for stories that go beyond boundaries. His reputation as a truth seeker, coupled with his critical stand against all-powerful power structures, has “elevated his work, attracting publishers, and producers willing to invest in the unique perspective he brought to journalism.” By the year 2023, Pilger’s net worth is estimated at around $1.7 million.

A family man

His journalistic career is supported by his lifelong partner, Yvonne Roberts, and his two children, Sam and Zoe. Roberts, a journalist, shared a life with Pilger that goes beyond the headlines and documentaries. “Their partnership was a testament to the complexities of maintaining personal relationships in the midst of a demanding career.” Roberts attests to “the resilience and understanding required to weather the storm of a profession” her partner invested in remote conflict zones.

Pilger’s legacy continues…

The core of Pilger’s legacy lies in the transformative power of journalism as a tool for social change through print articles and documentaries. And public advocating. His stories unearth hidden truths, magnifying alternative narratives explaining stories of those marginalised or ignored to the forefronts of global constructions.

Recipient of two-time Britain’s Journalist of the Year award and the Sydney Peace Prize in 2009, Pilger’s legacy challenged the status quo and offered an alternative perspective on global conflicts and injustice. His acclaimed work resonated with a fearless voice, particularly for the rights of Palestinians and Australian aboriginals, a commitment to global social justice that extends behind the printed page of the documentary screen.

There are also some disparaging comments aginst him. The website has issued an article by Oliver Kamm who claims that Pilger was a “charlatan and a fraudster.” In another website,, the same columnist claims that John Pilger was “an apologist for genocide.”

But this particular book by by Julian S. Rogers may act as a good initiation to the legend’s checkered life and legacy.

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I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, said George Orwell. As a writer, I never kowtow to the whims and dictates of the sacred godmen or godwomen, the political bigots and hypocrites, dealers of laymen, the dishonest and self-serving intellectuals, traders of religions, the betrayers of ‘other’ Indians who eke out a living by their sweat, who are living in fear for being lynched for this and that.

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