By Michael Hernandez
Slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and a group of journalists were collectively chosen by Time Magazine as its Person of the Year on Tuesday.
"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.
Khashoggi, who was murdered by Saudi agents at Riyadh's Istanbul consulate, shares the distinction with Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, Reuters journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, and the Maryland newspapers, the Capital Gazette.
"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.
"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.
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.
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.