By now, Peter Greste is a household name. While he might have been sentenced to jail far away in Egypt – his sentencing represents a struggle of potential recklessness within media we all need to take notice of. BBC Africa Correspondent Andrew Harding explains why.
And with the internet, our audiences have the ability to dissect and re-dissect reports and blogs and tweets that have sometimes been scribbled at great speed and under enormous pressure.
A testy email exchange comes to mind – with a listener who bitterly objected to an infinitive that I had split on Radio 4 one morning, as I crouched behind a wall during a firefight on the outskirts of Abidjan, and which he believed fundamentally undermined the credibility of my entire report.
But the idea – and here I realise I am being subjective, though I hope impartial – that Peter was working in Cairo in support of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is absurd, and appears to have been revealed as such in court to most viewers, although not, as today’s sentence makes clear, to the judge.
The news is – most importantly and pressingly – a terrible blow for both Peter and his family.
But it is also something that surely strikes at the entire journalistic community.
Sometimes, when the news comes in of another colleague killed or injured in conflict, I find myself clutching at the thought that the journalist had been too reckless – had taken risks so foolish that somehow they bore responsibility for their fate.