Washington: Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in October in the kingdom`s Istanbul consulate, was on Tuesday named Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ along with several other journalists.
Apart from Khashoggi, the honour was also given to three other journalists — two Reuters scribes Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo jailed in Myanmar for their work exposing the mass killing of Rohingya Muslims, and Maria Ressa, the CEO of the Rappler news website, who has been made a legal target in the Philippines.
The Capital Gazette newspaper of Annapolis, Maryland, where five staff members were gunned down in a newsroom shooting earlier this year was also honoured.
“As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and the 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 magazine Editor Edward Felsenthal said on the “Today” show, where the announcement was made.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, was third and President Donald Trump was runner-up, Felsenthal said.
“There’s always a strong case for the President of the US, particularly this President,” Felsenthal said. The magazine`s shortlist that was released on Monday included Trump, Mueller and Khashoggi.
The magazine hailed Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a supporter-turned-critic of Saudi Arabia`s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who was killed on October 2 for daring “to disagree with his country`s government”.
“His death laid bare the true nature of a smiling prince, the utter absence of morality in the Saudi-US 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?” the Time’s cover story said.
More than two months since Khashoggi`s disappearance, Saudi Arabia is still facing international condemnation over his brutal killing and alleged dismemberment at the hands of a Saudi hit team.
The 61-year-old`s body has still not been found and is thought by Turkish investigators to have been dissolved in acid.
The magazine’s short list had also included the more than 2,000 migrant families separated at the US border, Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students, “March For Our Lives” activists fighting for gun-control reforms, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and former actress-turned-British royal Meghan Markle.
Time magazine’s person of the year started in 1927 and recognizes “the person or group of people who most influenced the news and the world — for better or for worse — during the past year”.
It is decided by the magazine’s editors.