Peter Greste

Awarded Journalist, Freedom Campaigner & Keynote Speaker

Peter Greste is one of Australia's best known journalist, despite the fact that for more than 25 years he didn't live or work in the country. His fame came via unfortunate circumstances. In 2013, while Peter Greste was working for Al Jezeera, he and some of his colleagues were arrested, tried and imprisoned in Egypt. The trial was internationally condemned as a travesty of justice. While he was in prison, Peter began fearlessly campaigned for freedom of speech and advocated for journalists imprisoned around the world. He hasn't stopped.

Peter is the Director of the Alliance for Journalists' Freedom, and UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland.

A powerful keynote speaker, Peter Greste's story of surviving 400 days in an Egyptian prison is captivating and awe-inspiring.

More about Peter Greste:

Peter Greste began his career in Australian regional television news during the late 1980s. Inspired by One Crowded Hour, the biography of frontline cameraman Neil Davis, he left his job at the Ten Network in Adelaide in 1991, to follow his dream of becoming a foreign correspondent.

As a young freelance reporter, he covered the war in Yugoslavia in 1992-3, and South Africa's first multi-party elections the following year. In 1995, the BBC and Reuters appointed him as their joint Kabul correspondent, covering the civil war and the emergence of the Taliban across Afghanistan for all the broadcaster's radio and television outlets. For Reuters, he filed TV, photos and news reports.

In 1996, he moved back to Yugoslavia for Reuters before returning to the UK to work on the launch of the BBC's 24-hour domestic TV news service, News 24. Three years later, he returned to reporting from the field as the BBC's Central America correspondent based in Mexico City.

In 2001, the BBC recalled him to Afghanistan to be a part of the team covering the aftermath of 9/11 and the fall of the Taliban before he resumed his duties, this time reporting from across South America until 2003.

From there, he went to Kenya, working in eastern and southern Africa for the BBC, with a focus on ongoing crises in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. In 2011, he made a documentary on Somalia for the BBC's Panorama program, dedicated to the memory of his producer Kate Payton who was shot and killed during a previous trip the two of them made in 2005.

Later in 2011, Peter left the BBC and joined Al Jazeera as its East Africa Correspondent. He went to Cairo to cover the Christmas/New Year period in 2013, and two weeks after he arrived, security agents burst into his hotel room and arrested him and his colleagues. He was charged with aiding a banned organisation - the Muslim Brotherhood; financing a banned organisation and broadcasting false news. The court convicted Peter and his colleagues, and sentenced them to between seven and ten years of hard labour.

While in prison, Peter began a Masters degree in International Relations with Griffith University. Later in 2015, became an honorary doctor of the University, for his services to journalism.

In February 2015, Peter was deported on an order of the Egyptian president, though he was included in the subsequent retrial that began a month later. Peter and his colleagues were once again convicted in the retrial though with their sentences reduced to three years. Their case has been widely condemned as an abuse of due process and their fundamental human rights. Peter continues to campaign for freedom of the press and to support other journalists in prison.

In April 2016 Peter was awarded the ANZAC Peace Prize. He has also been awarded the International Association of Press Club's Freedom of Speech Award; and the Australian Human Rights Commission Medal.

Peter's book First Casualty describes his experiences in Egypt and discusses on the role of journalism in the War on Terror. 

Peter Greste speaks about:

"Building Trust in a Post Truth World” - From the Banking Royal Commission to the Christchurch Massacre, the facts have never been more important. We cannot solve our most pressing social problems without a common understanding of what the facts really are, but in the age of the internet, when “alternative facts” seem to be whatever anybody wants them to be, never have they seemed so malleable. In this thought-provoking and challenging talk, the University of Queensland’s Professor Peter Greste takes us through his own 30 years of experience as a journalist trying to get to “the truth”; and how that struggle became personal when he was imprisoned in Egypt for “broadcasting false news".

Prof. Greste’s journey out of prison brings powerful lessons on building and maintaining trust, of communicating with audiences, and of dealing with crises. How is trust lost? How can it be recovered? And is there any hope in a world where truthiness – when it is enough for a piece of information simply to feel truthful – is even a thing?