Truth or death? – The harsh reality of journalism

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been declared dead but without a body and without facts, one question I want to know is, how many journalists need to die in the name of freedom of speech?  

October 2, 2018, journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. As his fiancée waited outside, the journalist stepped into the building, never heard from again.

After his fiancée raised the alarm, Turkish forces began an investigation, finding evidence of torture, prompting several reports of Khashoggi’s fingers and head being cut off.

Khashoggi, by all accounts, was a courageous journalist, fuelled by a desire to see a modern progression of the Saudi regime. Deliberately choosing self-imposed exile he continued his dedication to change, through the Washington Post.

Eagerly awaiting his return, fellow journalist Karen Attiah recounts how colleagues at the Post had hoped Khashoggi would be able to submit his weekly column, which she said “captures his passion and commitment to freedom of speech in the Arab world.”

“This is the last piece of his I will edit for the Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world” – Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor, Washington Post

Sadly, Khashoggi would never return.

So far, Saudi have officially “plead the fifth” recounting a botched fist-fight, while maintaining Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is innocent. Whether this is to be believed from a country who still indulges in medieval punishment, is out for jury.

According to data collected from Committee to Protect Journalists, 48 reporters have died this year with, 47 in 2017 and a total of 1,323 since 1992. In 2017, 262 were also imprisoned, with most of these being in Arab countries.

Olivia O - Saudi Journalists

1,323 journalists have been killed since 1992.

The evasive and global response from governments, sheds light on the perceived value of a journalist’s honour to the truth. The disposal of journalists seems like a more viable option for corrupt governments and organisations than to deal with the publication of facts.

“Those who rule by fear, and fear to explain their rule, fear questions. They kill messengers.” – Jamal Khashoggi

The topic of a journalist’s safety is rarely addressed by public figures, instead dismissed as part of the job.  U.S President Donald Trump was recently cited praising congressman Greg Gianforte as “his guy” for an attack on a Guardian journalist, further highlighting the divide between the media and the state.

Unfortunately, this isn’t anything new. Even with the threat of vast media coverage the immediate threat to a journalist’s freedom is still very much active. After the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, is the hatred towards journalists accepted as the new normal?

 

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