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Australian Journalists and IFJ Mourn Loss of News Crew

August 19, 2011

IFJ Joins Australian Journalists in Mourning Loss of News Crew

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Australian Media Alliance and journalism community in expressing great sadness to learn of the feared deaths of a highly respected three-man reporting team for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Senior journalist Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst are feared to have been killed when their helicopter crashed near Lake Eyre on the evening of April 18.

The Alliance reports that police are still investigating the crash in a remote part of outback Australia, about 700 km north of Adelaide.

Lockyer, a journalist with more than 40 years’ experience, was the face of the ABC’s coverage of the Sydney Olympic Games and, more recently, was heralded for his coverage of devastating floods in the Australian state of Queensland in January.

John Bean, a renowned and highly versatile ABC camera operator, worked in news and current affairs. His career included several postings in the Pacific and further abroad.

Gary Ticehurst was the ABC’s lead helicopter pilot for more than two decades and played a significant role in the rescue of 14 yachtsmen while covering the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in 1998.

The federal secretary of the Media Alliance, Christopher Warren, who is also a member of the IFJ Asia-Pacific Steering Committee, says the tragedy underscores the risks inherent in news-gathering.

“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of Paul, John and Gary. These tragic accidents occur from time to time in the news business because journalists and their crews are required by the nature of their work to take risks. We must not forget that journalism can be a dangerous business,” he said.

The IFJ joins the Alliance in offering sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the three men, all of whom earned the respect of their industry for their work, their commitment and their compassion.

Media Alliance federal president and ABC journalist Peter Lewis paid a personal tribute to his colleagues: “All three were at the top of their game, on an assignment they loved in a part of Australia they loved. Their loss will be felt very keenly not only by their colleagues, but by the ABC’s audiences for whom they consistently did such terrific work.

“On a personal note, I had the privilege of working with each of them and they were always very professional and generous as colleagues – they brought empathy and sensitivity to even the most difficult stories. They will be greatly missed.”

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook here

ENDS

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