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UNITED KINGDOM. The Death of an Honest and Courageous Man

Susan Benn. Journalist.

Unfortunately good people die. Gavin MacFadyen.
We are extremely sad to announce the death of Gavin MacFadyen, CIJ’s Founder, Director and its leading light. Gavin died of lung cancer surrounded by loved ones in London.

Over his lifetime Gavin was a fierce defender of justice and human rights around the world. He was a warm, caring, larger-than-life person who, as many will attest, engendered love and respect from all who met him. His life and how he lived it were completely in sync with the principles that he held dear and practiced as a journalist and educator – to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Gavin founded the Centre for Investigative Journalism in 2003 to address the worsening media climate for in-depth, sceptical and adversarial reporting. Over the next 13 years he helped train thousands of reporters from over 35 countries, many of which are places where journalism is under attack and those who speak out are at enormous risk.  His students have gone on to great things in their careers and can point to Gavin as a mentor and inspiration. He has touched countless lives; his steadfast support for whistleblowers and journalists working in difficult environments has saved and given succor to some of the globe’s most threatened individuals and groups. He was the model of what a journalist should be.

Gavin was one of life’s bravest, most passionate and courageous souls. Prior to CIJ, as an investigative journalist, Gavin produced and directed more than 50 investigative documentaries, many for Granada Television’s World In Action. They covered countries as diverse as Britain, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Guyana, South Africa, Mexico, Hong Kong, Thailand, the US, Sweden, India and Turkey. He was banned from Apartheid South Africa, the Soviet Union, and attacked by British Neo-Nazis because of his films. The volume and quality of his body of work is unparalleled.

His loyalty to those under attack from powerful forces, particularly whistleblowers and journalistic groups like Wikileaks, will remain a beacon for years to come.

His commitment to exposing the true nature of power was his life force. He spearheaded the creation of a journalistic landscape which has irrevocably lifted the bar for ethical and hard-hitting reporting. Gavin worked tirelessly to hold power to account. He once said “Good journalism is always political journalism.”

We want to catalogue all the memories and stories that people have about Gavin on our website. Please email GavinTributes@tcij.org with your thoughts, stories, anecdotes, photos, videos, interviews, and anything else about Gavin that you want to share. You can view the tribute page here. Help us celebrate this wonderful, unique, and inspirational human being.

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