The ABC response to the conviction of its correspondent Peter Lloyd was swift. This from The Australian:

The ABC has sacked former correspondent Peter Lloyd, who was yesterday sentenced to 10 months’ jail in Singapore on drug charges.

Lloyd, 42, was arrested while on holiday in Singapore on July 16, and pleaded guilty to three drug-related offences, including possessing 0.41 grams of methamphetamine or “ice”.

The former ABC South Asian correspondent had remained on paid leave after the arrest, and the national broadcaster spent more than $65,000 providing legal support, counselling and related travel costs for Lloyd and his family.

Lloyd’s defence case rested on the claim that the reporter had suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the sometimes savage experiences he endured as a foreign correspondent. According to an ABC spokeswoman today, independent assessment of that claim remains incomplete.

Lloyd’s dismissal is sobering news for any ABC employee who risks the possibility of psychological harm in the course of their duties.  The fact that drug use and now criminal conviction was involved should not deter the ABC from a fairly clear duty of care to employees damaged in the course of their employment.

This is not how the ABC sees it. Said the spokeswoman:

Peter Lloyd has been sentenced to 10 months in prison in Singapore today on drug-related charges, and as such the ABC’s employment relationship with Peter has come to an end. This is due to the fact that Peter is unavailable to work. 

That hardly seems reasonable, caring or fair, and it stands as a warning to journalists everywhere who expose themselves to the worst the world can offer in order to kept the rest of us informed. It seems Lloyd has paid a high price for that diligence. 

Peter Fray

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