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October 24, 2016updated 25 Oct 2016 8:48am

Centre for Investigative Journalism founder and ‘leading light’ Gavin MacFadyen dies

By Freddy Mayhew

Gavin MacFadyen, founder and director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, has died from lung cancer aged 76.

MacFadyen was described as the charity’s “leading light” having established it in 2003 to address what he saw as a dearth of “in-depth, sceptical and adversarial reporting” in the media.

He spent 13 years helping to train thousands of reporters from 35 countries in critical, investigative reporting.

Paying tribute to her husband, Susan Benn wrote on the CIJ website that he was “the model of what a journalist should be”.

“Over his lifetime Gavin was a fierce defender of justice and human rights around the world,” she said.

“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.”

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An investigative journalist, prior to his work with CIJ, MacFayden produced and directed more than 50 documentaries, including a number for Granada Television’s World In Action.

Benn said he was banned from apartheid South Africa and the Soviet Union and attacked by British Neo-Nazis because of his films.

MacFadyen was later a supporter of Wikileaks and Julian Assange, having helped form the Julian Assange Defense Committee along with his wife and the journalist John Pilger.

Said Benn: “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.”

The CIJ has asked people to share their memories, stories, photos and interviews of MacFadyen via gavintributes@tcij.org to be catalogued on the CIJ website.

Picture: CIJ

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