“Journalism on Trial”


ABC Radio




Radio/Audio: News & Current Affairs

Australian journalist Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues were arrested by Egyptian authorities in December 2013 and eventually charged with falsifying news and having a negative impact on overseas perceptions of the country. It was implied they were sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, which had won a democratic election but been ousted in a military coup. 

Hayden Cooper attended most of the court sessions in the case, reporting on the trial for all ABC outlets. His coverage conveys the anguish of the defendants, the utter helplessness of the families, and the chaos and injustice of the Cairo courtroom.  

He also broadened the story, investigating the issue of press freedom in Egypt and focusing on local journalists killed and jailed in the post-coup crackdown. He filed his reports under difficult and oppressive conditions, in a country where simply practising journalism has become dangerous. 

Hayden Cooper has been the ABC’s Middle East correspondent since 2013. Prior to this he was a reporter at 7.30 in Sydney, and spent six years based in the federal parliamentary press gallery. Since joining the ABC in 2001 he has covered the Japanese tsunami and the Boston Marathon bombing. His “Inside West Papua” reports won two gold medals at the New York Film Awards in 2013.

Judges’ comments:

Making it not just a story of an Australian caught up in events in a foreign land, Hayden Cooper extended his view to take in Greste’s co-accused colleagues and the issue of press freedom more broadly. His well-written reports grab the listeners’ attention, bringing the personal and the political issues equally to the forefront. A pure radio piece, Hayden Cooper personalised and drew people into what was a breaking story.