Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Time magazine names journalists who risk their lives as People of the Year, cites 'war on truth'

Staff of the Capital Gazette
Journalism can be a dangerous profession to those who put themselves in harm's way to report the truth, putting them squarely in the cross-hairs of dictators and despots the world over -- and sometimes even at community newspapers in the United States. That's why Time magazine chose "The Guardians" against "the war on truth" as its 2018 Person of the Year.

Time issued four different covers of the magazine announcing the pick with different examples of journalists who have died or been imprisoned in the past year:
  • Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an expatriate Saudi who wrote pieces criticizing the Saudi royal family. Khashoggi was murdered, which the CIA found was likely by Saudi operatives with the approval of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • The staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. Five of its staffers were killed in June by a gunman angered by the newspaper's coverage of his legal troubles. Abby Vesolusis writes, "The Capital’s staff is accustomed to covering harrowing news — all community journalists are. They’re the ones who are there when fires incinerate buildings or when cars bend around utility poles. But they never imagined the hardest story they’d have to tell would be their own."
  • Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, whose news site Rappler has written stories critical of  authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, may face prison time. After her Dec. 3 arrest, she has posted bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in February. She has been charged with tax evasion, which a United Nations official has called "a censorship tool" that constitutes "an attempt to silence the news outlet's independent reporting."
  • Two Reuters reports in Myanmar, Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, who were sentenced to seven years in prison for reporting the deaths of 10 minority Rohingya Muslims.
"This year brought no shortage of other examples," Time reported. "Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam was jailed for more than 100 days for making 'false' and 'provocative' statements after criticizing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in an interview about mass protests in Dhaka. In Sudan, freelance journalist Amal Habani was arrested while covering economic protests, detained for 34 days and beaten with electric rods. In Brazil, reporter Patricia Campos Mello was targeted with threats after reporting that supporters of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro had funded a campaign to spread false news stories on WhatsApp. And Victor Mallet, Asia news editor for the Financial Times, was forced out of Hong Kong after inviting an activist to speak at a press club event against the wishes of the Chinese government. Worldwide, a record number of journalists—262 in total—were imprisoned in 2017, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which expects the total to be high again this year."

No comments: