Mark Willacy

Mark Willacy is an Australian investigative journalist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He has won Australia's premier journalism prize - the Walkley Award - five times and has twice been named Queensland Journalist of the Year. [1] [2] Willacy is currently based in Brisbane. Before that he was based in Tokyo for five years as the ABC's North Asia bureau chief and correspondent.[3] Willacy has reported for the ABC from more than 30 countries in Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. He has written for the Australian literary journal Meanjin,[4] the UK newspaper The Independent,[5] and the Diplomat magazine.

Television career

From 2002 until 2006 Willacy was the ABC's Middle East correspondent, based in Jerusalem.[6] From there he covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the 2003 Iraq war. Along with cameraman Louie Eroglu, Willacy spent 93 days in and around Iraq reporting on the conflict (an ABC record for an off-base assignment).[7] During his posting he also interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (who was assassinated in an Israeli air strike just weeks later), and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal. He reported from several Middle East countries, from Morocco in the west to Iran in the east.[7]

North Asia

Willacy was based in Tokyo from 2008 until 2013. He covered the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima. Willacy has visited Fukushima more than 20 times and has interviewed the former Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan several times about his handling of the nuclear crisis. He has also reported from the Korean peninsula on many occasions, and in 2013 he scored a world exclusive with his interview in Seoul with former North Korean spy and assassin Kim Hyun-hee who planted a bomb on Korean Air flight 858 which killed all 115 people on board.[8]


Willacy has won Australia's premier journalism prize - the Walkley Award - five times.[9] In 2003, he won it for his coverage of the Iraq War. He was awarded his second Walkley in 2011 for his reporting on the Japan tsunami and nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima. He won it for a third time in 2015 (with producer Mark Solomons) for exposing one of Australia's largest environmental contaminations.[10] He has also won for his Four Corners report into the 2018 rescue of 12 Thai soccer players and their coach who were trapped in a cave, and for an 18 month investigation with producer Alexandra Blucher into local government corruption.[11] Willacy has been nominated for Walkley Awards on nine other occasions. In 2019 Willacy and the Four Corners team won the Logie Award for Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report for their Thai cave rescue story.[12] In 2008 he won a Queensland Media Award for breaking stories on dangerous lead levels in Mount Isa.[3] In 2010 he was named Queensland Journalist of the Year for his investigation into the Mindanao massacre in the Philippines.[13] In 2019 he was again named Queensland Journalist of the Year, this time for his Four Corners investigation into children as young as 10-years old being locked up in adult maximum-security watch houses.[14] Willacy has also been awarded the prestigious Eureka Prize for his investigation into systemic corruption inside Japan's scientific whaling program.[15] He has been shortlisted for the Perkin Award for Australian Journalist of the Year (2011) and been a finalist in the Lowy Institute Media Award (2018). [16][17]

Writing career

In 2007 Willacy wrote a book about his experiences covering conflict in the Middle East entitled The View From the Valley of Hell, published by Pan Macmillan.[18] The book was named "Pick of the Week" in the Sydney Morning Herald which said Willacy's "critique of the current situation is hard-hitting and devastating".[19]

Willacy's book Fukushima: Japan's Tsunami and the Inside Story of the Nuclear Meltdowns,[20] on the 2011 Japanese tsunami disaster, was published in 2013. The Australian newspaper praised the book, saying Willacy "unearths evidence that the company [TEPCO] failed to act on its own warning systems, denied government officials access to data and updates, layered veils of misinformation and falsehoods over the Fukushima plant, withheld information and lied on its way to writing a new chapter in corporate infamy".[21] The Sydney Morning Herald said the book was "a gripping and salutary piece of reportage", while the Japan Times called it "an engaging work that draws readers in rather than shutting them out, portraying the flawed policies and people behind the "man-made" nuclear disaster without sermonizing".[22]

Fukushima was long-listed for the 2013 Walkley Book Award.[23] Books+Publishing website named it one of the best books of 2013.[24] A Japanese-language version of the book is due for publication in Tokyo in 2014.

See also


  2. "Queensland Clarion Awards". MEAA. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  3. ABC (2013). "Mark Willacy".
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. "Queensland Clarion Awards". MEAA. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  17. "The Lowy Institute Media Award | Lowy Institute". Retrieved 12 September 2019.
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