- 24 Jan 20
Keane's post-traumatic stress disorder stemmed from years of reporting in conflict zones.
BBC News Africa Editor Fergal Keane has stepped down from his role, citing post-traumatic stress disorder.
The network's head of newsgathering, Jonathan Munro, stated that Keane had been dealing privately with the effects of PTSD for years, stemming from decades of work in conflict zones around the world. Keane notably reported from Rwanda during the genocide, which earned him awards from the Royal Television Society, Sony and more.
Munro added, "He has been supported throughout this time by friends and colleagues in News, as well as receiving professional medical advice. However, he now feels he needs to change his role in order to further assist his recovery. It's both brave and welcome that he is ready to be open about PTSD."
Keane's struggle with mental illness is unfortunately not unique. Reporters often lack counselling services or additional resources to aid them in handling traumatic situations, including crime, domestic violence and war.
There are now more organisations that aim to aid journalists like Keane, who must battle with the consequences of trauma reporting. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of Columbia Journalism School in New York City established in the early 1990s, is dedicated to providing journalists around the world with the resources necessary to tackle reporting on these difficult topics. The Mindfield also now offers virtual counselling via Skype to journalists in the field.
Raised in Ireland, the journalist began his career at BBC as a Northern Ireland correspondent in 1989. He soon became BBC's South Africa Correspondent and then moved to Hong Kong as the Asia Correspondent, before returning to the World Affairs unit in London.
Munro said that him and Keane are discussing a new role "that will enable to him to continue to provide original and compelling journalism, on different platforms across News and Current Affairs and more widely across the BBC."