ABC’s Mark Willacy wins Gold Walkley for Four Corners’ Killing Field expose into Australian war crimes in Afghanistan
The ABC’s Four Corners has taken home the biggest award in journalism at the 2020 Walkley Awards, with Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations Team winning the Gold Walkley for its program Killing Field.
The story uncovered suspected war crimes by the Australia Defence Force in Afghanistan, revelations that prompted the recent Brereton inquiry.
“The shocking helmet camera footage, and Willacy’s sharp scripting and probing interviews, results in a compelling and brilliant investigation,” the Walkley judges said.
“Mark Willacy’s work was outstanding and it came after a series of investigations into war crimes in previous years, which together prompted the Brereton inquiry into war crimes.
“This has been one of the most significant stories of the year so congratulations Mark and the ABC team, this was brilliant work.”
Willacy’s win was one of many by the ABC at the event, which was held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dylan Welch, Alexander Palmer, Clare Blumer and Suzanne Dredge won the Innovation category for their story Anatomy of a Suicide Bombing, which detailed the attack that made David Savage the first civilian casualty of Australia’s war in Afghanistan.
Russell Jackson won the Feature Writing category for stories over 4,000 words, for his piece The Persecution of Robert Muir, which uncovered the years of racial abuse suffered by the former St Kilda footballer.
The popular Coronacast podcast and its members Dr Norman Swan, Tegan Taylor and Will Ockenden were named winners for the Radio/Audio: News and Current Affairs category.
Also in the radio and audio field, Rachael Brown, Josie Taylor, Tim Roxburgh and Marty Peralta won the Feature category for their program Trace: The Informer.
Killing Field and Willacy also won the Investigative Journalism category, while Four Corners’ show Black Summer, which covered the bushfires of summer 2019-2020, also won in the Production category.
ABC News and the ABC Regional and Local Team were also recognised for their coverage of the bushfires, winning the Coverage of a Major News Event category.
Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Tony Jones won the Walkley Documentary Award for Revelation, which uncovered a history of sexual abuse within the Catholic church.