Jon Swain - writer and foreign correspondent

A selection of Jon’s reports
(links to follow where they aren’t yet included)

1975. Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge in the Vietnam war. Jon was the only British journalist present at the time. He won the British Press Awards’ Journalist of the Year for his coverage of the event and its horrific aftermath.
Jon has continued to report on the war’s after-effects.

  • In 1998, he recalled Pol Pot’s calamitous impact on Cambodia.
  • In 2010, he discussed the effects of Duch’s trial on the eve of the verdict in the UN-backed trial of Pol Pot’s notorious lieutenant.
  • More than thirty years after the Vietnam war, Jon wrote a moving account of its lost souls - the Hmong tribespeople. These are the remnants of the CIA’s secret army in Laos who were abandoned after the American defeat and still struggle to survive in the jungle.
  • As Vietnam celebrated the 35th anniversary of its defeat of the US, Jon remembered what it was like to be there.

1980 - 1988. Iran-Iraq war. Jon reported on both sides of the conflict in which over half a million people died.

1984. UK miners’ strike
. Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya extended financial support to Arthur Scargill’s National Union of Mineworkers. Jon won the British Press Awards’ Reporter of the Year 1984 and the What the Papers Say Scoop of the Year award for this coverage.

1985. A French MEP was a communist agent for the Romanian secret intelligence service when Romania was still ruled by communist dictator, Nikolai Ceaucescu.
Euro-MP is communist agent

1988. Vietnamese boat people, fleeing communist oppression in southern Vietnam, fell foul of pirates, neighbouring countries’ policies to repulse them, or got lost at sea. This coverage won Jon Foreign Reporter of the Year.
Cannibalism: the chilling secret of lost boat people
The last voyage of the damned; Vietnamese boat people

1988. Israeli military technicians, using false passports, helped Israel secretly to transfer missile technology to China.
Israel in secret missile deal with China

1989. Student protests in China, which culminated in the Tiananmen Square massacre.

1991. First Gulf War, when US-led coalition forces expelled Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army from Kuwait.

1995. Europe’s largest massacre since the Second World War. Over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Serbian forces as they fled the town of Srebrenica which the United Nations had declared a safe haven.

1999. Kosovo was engulfed in war. Jon walked over the Montenegran mountains to become the first British journalist to report on what the Serbs did under NATO bombardment. He won the British Press Awards’ Foreign Reporter of the Year for his coverage.

1999. Indonesian forces lay waste to East Timor following a popular vote for independence from Indonesia. Jon was ambushed by militiamen attached to the Indonesian army and fled, narrowly escaping with his life.

2001. The American hunt for Osama Bin Laden in his stronghold in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan.

2003. Just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Jon discusses how war reporting has changed in the latter half of the Twentieth Century for the British Journalism Review.
War doesn’t belong to the generals

2003. Second Gulf War. Jon was one of the few reporters in Baghdad under American bombardment.

2000 - 2010. Zimbabwe. Mugabe progressively lays waste to the country which used to be southern Africa’s bread basket. Disasterous land reforms in 2000 destroyed the country’s agriculture and created widespread joblessness and hunger. Corruption has crept into every sphere of public life. Mugabe and his henchmen continue to entrench themselves in power and resist reform, despite the formation of a unity government in 2009.
Mugabe's Dirty Diamonds

Jon has reported on the effects of many
natural disasters, including earthquakes in Algeria, India and Pakistan, and the Asian tsunami.