Talking with Peter Greste on journalism and press freedom has been one of the highlights of producing The Adelaide Show. This esteemed journalist began his career at Channel 10 in Adelaide before travelling the world and working for Al Jazeera. It was in that role that he was sent to Egypt to cover the Christmas holiday season at a time of political upheaval and was arrested on false charges and jailed, along with two of his colleagues. He is now conducting research into the state of journalism today and its needs for the future if it is to continue playing a vital role in society; the role of shining a light on important public events and people, as well as teasing out bad dealings taking place in the shadows.
Our “Fourth Estate” has been tested during this time of Covid 19, with politicians and health authorities using different methods of engaging with the media, while the media has had to reassess its “tabloid headlines at any cost” mentality as it both juggled supporting and critiquing authorities (those same authorities that have brought in bad legislation that is dangerously curbing press freedoms) with dealing with conspiracy groups and charlatans wanting to use this time of global public stress to push their own barrows and foment discord.
I think it’s fitting that this episode follows our round table episode that critiqued the many failings of Covid 19 media coverage and government policy, while trying to shine a light on ordinary, stable science during this period of quickly-evolving insights and developments.
I hope you find the coversation intriguing, nuanced, and helpful, especially Peter’s last comments about one of the books he read while in prison that seems to contain some timely wisdom for all of us: Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl (who survived the Nazi death camps and wrote this short but powerful book about finding meaning in life as a result).
As an aside, that book, along with 400 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman, have been my summer reading books and prompted me to remove all social media apps from my phone. It’s been liberating, and it led to my Musical Pilgrimage song choice. – Steve
The SA Drink Of The Week this week is the 2018 Durif by Gledhill Vignorerons (it’s not quite released yet but we got an advance tasting).
And in the Musical Pilgrimage, we finish off with Shining Light by David Robinson.
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Running Sheet: Peter Greste on journalism and press freedom
Introduction to the show includes a snippet from Peter Greste’s first press conference upon returning to Australia after being freed from prison in Egypt.
00:07:14 SA Drink Of The Week
This week’s SA Drink Of The Week is the 2018 Gledhill Vignerons Durif, made by The Adelaide Show’s occasional winemaker co-presenter, John Gledhill. It’s not available publicly just yet, but contact Steve if you’d like to get some of this wine which is a bargain at $30 per bottle.
00:09:26 Peter Greste
At the Oz Asia festival last year, I had the pleasure of bumping into Australian journalist, Peter Greste. If that name is familiar to you, it’s because Peter was jailed in Egypt for 400 days, having gone to the country shortly before Christmas in 2013, to cover end of year festivites for Aj Jazeera’s english language channel. Peter and his colleagues were arrested and charged with airing false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned organisation in Egypt. In recent times, Peter has been working for the University of Queensland, undertaking a research project involving journalism and press freedom. Peter, welcome to The Adelaide Show.
The #Australian #journalist @PeterGreste, who was jailed in #Egypt on false charges working for @AlJazeera_World, takes a deep dive into the topic of #journalism and #pressfreedom with @SteveDavis in ep 343 of The #Adelaide Show. https://t.co/SDOudJRi12 #democracy #society
— The Adelaide Show (@TheAdelaideShow) January 6, 2022
References from the interview:
Why a press freedom law should matter to us all | Peter Greste | TEDxUQ
How Journalism Became One Of The Most Dangerous Jobs In The World | Peter Greste | TEDxSydney
Peter, I was forlorn when chatting with you at Oz Asia because the fourth estate is something I hold (or have held) in high regard, and I’m quite angry at the way it is being cheapened by news outlets, and played by unscrupulous political leaders. I was forlon because there wasn’t a link that made you a valid guest on a podcast that puts South Australian passion on centre stage. And then you reminded me that you worked here as a journo. Take us through that time?
What was the calibre of stories covered back then?
I’ve started using the Al Jazeera app. It’s like proper news. How does our news diet compare to European or African diets, eg, we seem to lead with car crashes, robberies, or burst water drains, along with embarrassing gaffes by pollies.
Loss of freedom – I would expect waves of despair – your thoughts on our freedom fighers
The twisting of words
Does the press deserve its freedom
Do we know real journalism and was there ever new journalism
I protested 24-hour news cycle in late 80s – is it terrible
How did you find resiliance, not knowing an end date – just like people in the world wars or facing covid
Nuance – govt has cracked down badly against freedoms, are we now facing Boy Cried Wolf when it’s trying to crack down for public safety
It’s weird, the press thing. It really is rich people having a business in which they send employees out wielding sticks, or you have govt broadcasters. Why do I need to answer questions from Mr Murdoch’s employees?
I now don’t consume much news. How dangerous is that
I find shows like The Bugle and The News Quiz on BBC
01:22:35 Musical Pilgrimage
In the musical pilgrimage, we have Shining Light by David Robinson.
This song came out at least a decade a go and was an early warning song about Facebook and social media.
Here’s this week’s preview video
This week, we are sharing the full interview recording, made via zoom. The sound quality is not as good as in the published podcast, but it is offered here if you prefer to watch interviews, rather than just listen to them.
SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from freesfx.co.uk for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.