Time magazine named today as Person of the Year 2018 those it defined as "Guardians" of press freedom in the world, including Saudi journalist killed in Turkey Jamal Khashoggi, at a time of great concern for the "fake" news "and that the magazine defines as" war against the truth". This is the first time that Time grants this distinction in a chorus of voices awarding a group of journalists who have been murdered, oppressed or imprisoned.
"This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment," said Edward Felsenthal, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.
The title, awarded annually since 1927, "recognizes the person or group of people who have most influenced the news and the world - for good or for bad - during the past year."
Khashoggi was also joined by Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, editor of the news portal Rappler, who is very critical of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte; and Reuters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo reporters, detained by Burmese authorities while investigating the atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority.
Kashoggi receives this distinction posthumously - the first time it happens - along with three other reporters and a media outlet, which the publication sees as prominent communication professionals who suffer in their own flesh this "war against the truth" that is fought every day in the world, before authoritarian regimes or against false news that flood social networks and pollute politics.
The distinction also includes the local newspaper Capital Gazette, of Annapolis (Maryland), where five reporters were killed in a shooting this year.
Khashoggi, who collaborated with the Washington Post and was very critical of the Riyadh government, was assassinated in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. According to the FBI they are sure that the prince is involved in his death, and this has created a great controversy over Trump's statements not to take action based on the investigations regarding the Prince of Saudi Arabia, to preserve his relationship with the Saudis
"Like all human virtues, courage comes to us in different ways and at different times," added the Time's chief-editor on the work of these information professionals, for whom it became clear that "the manipulation and abuse of truth are really the common thread in many of the most important stories of this year, from Russia to Riyadh and Silicon Valley".
Besides Khashoggi, who was a columnist for The Washington Post, the distinguished ones are Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, editor of the Rappler news portal, very critical of the authoritarian Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte; and Reuters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo reporters, detained by Burmese authorities while investigating the atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority. They are still behind bars.
The #MeToo movement was chosen as Person of the Year in the last edition, in 2017, and the previous was for Donald Trump and his electoral victory in the United States.
Also on the list of finalists was the special lawyer Robert S. Mueller, who investigates the Russian plot in the US elections of 2016 won by Donald Trump. The latter applied personally to win again the distinction of Time.
The list of finalists also included the thousands of migrant families waiting on the border with the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler.
Associations of journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have welcomed the decision of Time, although they have recalled that there are many more journalists who defend press freedom putting their physical integrity at risk, in countries such as Venezuela and Vietnam.
"We decided that, instead of watching the funeral of journalism, we would do something; when we produce many lights, even small lights, we can enlighten an entire nation," said Venezuelan journalist Reyes in a CPJ statement.