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SPECIAL LIFETIME CAMPAIGN AWARD

Eamonn McCann
The Irish Times, The Belfast Telegraph and The Guardian

Bloody Sunday

EAMONN McCANN has been using his journalism to campaign for justice for the Bloody Sunday families for almost 40 years. The publication of the Saville Report in June marked a victory for the families, a victory of which McCann was very much a part.

In February 1972, within a month of the killings, McCann published the first pamphlet on Bloody Sunday, “What happened in Derry”. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s he wrote about the injustice of Bloody Sunday whenever he got the opportunity.

In the run-up to 1992, the 20th anniversary of the massacre, McCann made a proposal to the families for a book to mark the occasion. The publication of Bloody Sunday in Derry: What Really Happened was crucial in helping to bring together all the Bloody Sunday families for the first time into a single campaign.

Throughout the 1990s McCann wrote constantly about Bloody Sunday, ensuring that every new piece of evidence about what had happened on the day and in the course of the subsequent cover-up was analysed and publicised. He wrote in the local Derry papers, in the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Times, the Sunday Tribune, in the London Independent, the Guardian, the Observer – anywhere he could place a story.

With the announcement of the Saville Tribunal, McCann’s writing on Bloody Sunday came into its own. While other journalists focused only on the evidence of the more high-profile witnesses, McCann attended almost every day of the tribunal. He attended the hearings in London’s Central Hall, paying his own costs to travel to and from London and staying with family while there. He wrote a weekly analysis for the Sunday Tribune in Dublin, and covered the proceedings daily for the Irish commercial radio station Today FM, as well as contributing articles to the Guardian, Observer, Irish Times, Irish Mirror and Irish Daily Mail.

McCann’s campaigning journalism is very much in the spirit of Paul Foot’s – meticulously researched, intelligent, persistent, consistent, unrelenting, beautifully written and a thorn in the establishment’s side.

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The Paul Foot Award was set up in memory of revered investigative journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004.

Paul Foot, an investigative journalist, editor and left-wing campaigner, worked variously for the Daily Record, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and Private Eye. He was involved in many high-profile campaigns throughout his illustrious career, including the Birmingham Six, the Bridgewater Four and the John Poulson scandal. His accolades include the Journalist of the Year, the Campaigning Journalist of the Year, the George Orwell Prize for Journalism and in 2000 he was honoured as the Campaigning Journalist of the Decade.

Paul Foot died in 2004 at the age of 66.


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