02 November 2020 06:40
The Independent newspaper confirms its acclaimed and controversial journalist died following a short illness. Veteran journalist Robert Fisk, who for decades covered events in the Middle East and elsewhere as a foreign correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, has died after suffering a suspected stroke at his Dublin home. Fisk became unwell on Friday and was admitted to St Vincent's hospital where he died a short time later, the Irish Times reported on Sunday. "Fearless, uncompromising, determined and utterly committed to uncovering the truth and reality at all costs, Robert Fisk was the greatest journalist of his generation," said Christian Boughton, editor of the Independent until last week and now managing director. Fisk joined The Independent in 1989, after falling out with the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper The Times, which he had initially joined as Northern Ireland correspondent in 1972.
During his decades-long career, he covered key international events including the Lebanese civil war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution, Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, conflicts in the Balkans and the Arab Spring. Robert Fisk was renowned for his reporting on Middle East affairs The Irish Times said he was planning a return to the Middle East shortly before his death. "The world of journalism and informed commentary on the Middle East had lost one of its finest commentators," Irish President Michael Higgins said in a statement, paying tribute to a man he said he had known since the 1990s. He won the Orwell Prize for Journalism, as well as receiving the British Press Awards International Journalist of the Year and Foreign Reporter of the Year on several occasions. Fisk was one of the few western reporters to interview al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
According to the Irish Times, he was admitted to St Vincent's hospital after becoming unwell and died a short time later. He reported from Northern Ireland on the Troubles, before relocating to Portugal and then Beirut in Lebanon, from which he operated as a Middle East correspondent for the broadsheet. In 1989, Fisk joined the Independent newspaper in London following a row with the Murdoch-owned Times. Fisk received many British and international journalism awards, including the Press Awards Foreign Reporter of the Year seven times. As well as his detailed reports, Fisk was a prolific author, having published six books, including the critically acclaimed The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East in 2005.
Responding to the news of his death, Micheal Martin, the Irish taoiseach, tweeted: "Saddened tonight to hear of the death of journalist Robert Fisk. After beginning his career at the Sunday Express, Fisk moved to the Times where, from 1972 to 1975, he was the paper's Belfast correspondent at the height of the Northern Ireland troubles. In 1976 he moved to Beirut where he began his career as a Middle East correspondent, covering the Lebanese civil war, the Iranian revolution, the Iran-Iraq War and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He joined the Independent in 1989, and remained their correspondent in the region until his death, covering events such as Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and the recent wars in Syria. A fluent Arabic speaker, he was among the few western journalists to interview the al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden, which he did three times during the 1990s. Fisk also wrote books on Northern Ireland and the Middle East, including Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War and The Great War for Civilisation, in which he chronicled "the betrayals and treachery and deceit of Middle East history". Fisk, who died in Dublin, was highly regarded for his conflict reporting but also became controversial for his Syria coverage and criticism of US and Israel policies. Robert Fisk was unwell on Friday and was admitted to St Vincent's hospital where he died a short time later, The Irish Times reported on Sunday, November 1, 2020. Veteran journalist, author, and commentator Robert Fisk has died of a suspected stroke in the Irish capital, Dublin. Fisk, 74, was unwell on Friday and was admitted to St Vincent's hospital where he died a short time later, The Irish Times reported on Sunday. Highly praised but controversial, the British foreign correspondent was known for covering the Lebanese civil war, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, and the ongoing Syrian war. "The world of journalism and informed commentary on the Middle East has lost one of its finest commentators," Ireland's President Michael D Higgins said. "Generations, not only of Irish people but all over the world, relied on him for a critical and informed view of what was taking place in the conflict zones of the world and, even more important, the influences that were perhaps the source of the conflict," he said. "He was fearless and independent in his reporting, with a deeply researched understanding of the complexities of Middle Eastern history and politics," Micheal Martin, the Irish taoiseach, said. RIP Robert Fisk, one of the few honest Western chroniclers of the wars & intrigues imposed on the Middle East & sharpest critics of the absurd language pundits and politicians reflexively resorted to to paper over their colonial relationship w/ the region — Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) November 1, 2020 I didn't agree with a lot of his later Syria commentary but his Pity The Nation remains one of the great books. RIP Fisk — Jeremy Bowen (@BowenBBC) November 1, 2020 Tributes have been paid to the veteran journalist and commentator Robert Fisk who has died at the age of 74. Robert Fisk worked as Northern Ireland correspondent for the Times of London in the early 1970s and later became the Middle Eastern correspondent for that paper, moving to the Independent in 1989. Robert Fisk's relationship with Ireland began in the 1970s - he later completed a PhD at Trinity college and had a home in Dalkey in Co Dublin. The Irish Times reported he suffered a stroke at his Dublin home on Friday and died later in hospital. President Michael D Higgins said that the world of journalism and informed commentary on the Middle East had lost one of its finest commentators. President Higgins said generations had relied on Robert Fisk for a critical and informed view of what was taking place in conflict zones of the world, and he said his Irish citizenship had meant a great deal to him. Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Fisk was "fearless in his reporting, with a deeply researched understanding of the complexities of Middle Eastern history and politics". Saddened tonight to hear of the death of journalist Robert Fisk. He was fearless & independent in his reporting, with a deeply researched understanding of the complexities of Middle Eastern history and politics. Robert Fisk's books included 'Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War', 'In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality' and 'The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East'.