Time names slain, imprisoned journalists including Khashoggi as Person of the Year

Published 11.12.2018 16:17
Updated 11.12.2018 17:50

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in October at his country's Istanbul consulate, was on Tuesday named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" alongside several other journalists.

The magazine also honored Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo -- currently imprisoned in Myanmar -- and the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, including five members killed in a June shooting.

"As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year's major stories from Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley," Time's Editor-In-Chief Edward Felsenthal said in announcing the decision on the Today morning show.

"We chose to highlight four individuals and one group who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths, starting with Jamal Khashoggi" he added.

Washington Post contributor Khashoggi, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's policies, was murdered at the Saudi consulate after entering the consulate premises for marriage documents.

"The stout man with the gray goatee and the gentle demeanor dared to disagree with his country's government. He told the world the truth about its brutality toward those who would speak out. And he was murdered for it," Time said of Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia initially denied any role in Khashoggi's Oct. 2 disappearance before acknowledging he was murdered inside its Istanbul consulate.

Riyadh has sought to blame "rogue agents" for killing Khashoggi during a botched rendition operation, but the explanation has been met with skepticism by many, including a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers who insist the operation could not have been carried out without the knowledge of Crown Prince Mohammed.

"His death laid bare the true nature of a smiling prince, the utter absence of morality in the Saudi-U.S. alliance and—in the cascade of news feeds and alerts, posts and shares and links—the centrality of the question Khashoggi was killed over: Whom do you trust to tell the story?" Time wrote.

That question is a common thread in all of the others Time selected.

Ressa, who helms the Philippine online news website, Rappler, has worked to chronicle the drug war being carried out by Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and its thousands of extrajudicial killings. The Rappler was charged in November with tax fraud allegations that could send Ressa to prison for up to a decade.T

Oo and Lone, the two Reuters journalists who were selected, have been jointly sentenced to seven years in prison for their work in Myanmar chronicling the deaths of 10 Rohingya Muslims in the country. They were convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act in a case seen as a test of democratic freedoms in Myanmar.

And the Capital Gazette was targeted in June by a gunman who stormed into the Annapolis, Maryland newsroom, fatally shooting five people inside.

"This ought to be a time when democracy leaps forward, an informed citizenry being essential to self-government. Instead, it's in retreat," wrote Time.

ime, which has awarded the "Person of the Year" title annually since 1927, published four different magazine covers for this week's edition, each one spotlighting different honorees.

It is the first time someone has been chosen posthumously for the prestigious cover.

U.S. President Donald Trump, the 2016 "Person of the Year," was the bookmakers' favorite this year but in the end was runner-up.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, investigating possible collusion between Russia and Trump's 2016 election campaign, was ranked third.

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