Jamal Khashoggi among journalists named TIME Person of the Year
TIME magazine has finally released its much-awaited Person of the Year 2018, and a handful of journalists whose work landed them in jail or cost them their lives have been awarded the coveted title collectively. Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland were given the honor. Here are the details.
"This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment: Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md," said TIME's editor-in-chief.
The theme of this year's TIME Person of the Year is "The Guardians and the War on Truth". The aforementioned group of journalists were given the honor for "taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths" and for representing the "broader fight" many journalists face in their pursuit of facts in the face of oppressive regimes and clampdowns on freedom of speech.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, and a vocal critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) went missing in Istanbul in October. Subsequent investigations revealed that the journalist had been murdered by a Saudi hit squad, and his body was dismembered and disposed of. While Saudi Arabia has blamed his death on a rogue operation, many believe MbS himself ordered the assassination.
Maria Ressa is a Philippine journalist, best known for being the CEO of online news website Rappler, which is renowned for its critical and vocal criticism of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial and violent policies. The winner of several awards and honors, Ressa has come under legal pressure from the Philippine government time and again. She is also an expert on global terrorism.
In January this year, Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were framed in Myanmar for investigating the massacre of a few Rohingya Muslims and implicating Myanmar's security forces in the killings. Reuters reported that false documents had been planted on the duo to frame and arrest them. Subsequently, the duo were found to be guilty in September, and currently remain in prison.
Journalists at the Capital Gazette became the victim of a gunman's wrath in June this year, when gunman Jarrod Ramos shot five people dead with a shotgun at the publication's office. Ramos had pent-up anger from a story the Gazette had run on him in 2011. He had filed a defamation suit, but after that was dismissed, decided to gun Gazette journalists down.
"They are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world — as of Dec. 10, at least 52 journalists have been murdered in 2018 — who risk all to tell the story of our time," TIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal further added.