A journalist’s job exists to inform, update and warn the public about the urgent events that everyday people may not be aware about. These noble messengers open doors to the different worlds unknown and, most importantly, what inhabits our personal lives. Journalists are humble servants devoted to the people.
This puts journalists at risk.
The flaws and weaknesses of authoriotarian political powerhouses falls on their resistance to free speech and press. These governments use the military and fear to enforce a certain agenda limiting the progression of knowledge within humanity. These governments rely on controlling the minds of the people resulting in the constant surveillance of free speech.
Global Opinions contributing columnist and author for The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, was the devoted voice for Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi’s mission was to keep the people of Saudi Arabia aware, even cautious of the blemishes of their absolute monarchy and of the unitary state government that subsequently cost Khashoggi his life that he mercifully gave to his people.
Khashoggi spoke highly of the bondage of Saudi journalists and was a prominent critic of the royal family. He heavily testified the lack of freedom journalists had to report on national politics and issues that authorities assumed could potentially lead to rebellion. This left the Arabs living in these countries either uninformed or misinformed.
Khashoggi wrote to The Washington Post, “They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, the matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.”
On Oct. 2, Khashoggi arranged to visit the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document certifying his divorce. Once he entered the consulate he was not heard from again.
Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah and Khashoggi’s editor, said, “This is the last piece of his [that] I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.”
According to The Washington Post, at least 43 journalists have been killed in 2018 gloabally so far with an additional 15 journalists dead, though their deaths has not been officially tied to their work.
In 2017, the attack on journalists was the highest it had ever been with a record number of 262 journalists imprisoned or threats being made against the press.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, of the 48 journalists killed in 2017, six took place in Mexico, as did the first of 2018.
On Jan. 13, 2018, 77-year-old opinion columnist Carlos Dominguez was stabbed 21 times at a traffic light in the northern Mexico border city of Nuevo Laredo. At least 10 journalists were murdered in the country in 2016, including several who covered drug cartels and accusations of collusion between kingpins and public officials.
Then there was the infamous terrorist attack on the French printing press Charlie Hebdo “Charlie Weekly” on Jan. 7, 2015 in Paris that left 12 dead. The French satirical weekly magazine featured cartoons, reports, polemics, jokes as well as controversial cartoons of Islamic figures.
Sophomore film, TV and radio major Demara Barnes said, “People have been putting targets on journalists for a long time now and it’s disturbing. Journalists should be able to speak freely about whatever events are going on without someone wanting to point a gun toward them. Freedom of speech is a privilege in America.”
The underlying theme is the blatant attack on free speech and press. When someone holds the position to expose and shed light on the political, economical and systematic truths of totalitarian nations they become a target. The powerful feed off of the ignorant to manipulate and rob citizens of their loyalty.
As a journalist, this war on free speech is frightening but makes me think we are doing something right. It further shows the need for journalists to report the raw news of the world in order to keep the people informed and aware of what is going on.
Journalists put their lives on the line for a story that can possibly bring a change to the muting of voices.
The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Qur’an Hansford.