Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2018 featured four Asian journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer, two Reuters reporters jailed by Myanmar’s government, and the founder of a Philippines news website.
The staff of a daily newspaper in Maryland rounds up this year’s batch of honorees. It was bestowed on members of the Fourth Estate for the first time in Time’s 95-year history.
For this year’s edition of the annual award, Time published four different magazine covers.
Each cover shines a spotlight on the different honorees composed of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the workforce of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland which includes five staff members killed in a June shooting.
Khashoggi, known as a staunch critic of the Saudi’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in October while inside a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
According to some U.S. senators briefed by the Central Intelligence Agency, they are certain that the Saudi crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi’s killing. However, U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed skepticism on the findings.
The crown prince, who is also accused of contributing to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in impoverished Yemen, has denied knowledge of the operation that killed Khashoggi.
Philippines’ Ressa heads Rappler, a news outfit critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s numerous policies, including the deadly war on drugs. In the last two years of Duterte’s administration, the news site has been producing investigative reports on the spate of killings involving the local authorities.
Ressa and her site were charged with tax evasion by the Philippines’ justice department in November.
Ressa was also recently arrested and released on bail from what many believe to be trumped up charges. New York-based NGO “Committee to Protect Journalists” has called the charges a direct assault on press freedom.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, both Reuters journalists, were imprisoned in Myanmar for allegedly violating a state secrets act while reporting on the Rohingya crisis.
They had been investigating the murders of 10 Rohingya men by the army in the northern Rakhine village of Inn Dinn.
They were arrested in December last year while carrying official documents given by two police officers and they have been detained since.
While the pair’s award-winning investigation “Massacre in Myanmar” forced the powerful Burmese military to admit guilt, it made no difference at their trial.
Despite international calls for their release, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi has defended the verdict, claiming their conviction had “nothing to do with freedom of expression at all.”
Meanwhile, Reg Chua, the chief operating officer for Reuters editorial, welcomed Time’s recognition of the journalists, Reuters reports.
“We hope this recognition will draw continued awareness to their unjust arrest and imprisonment in Myanmar, and reaffirm the essential role of a free press around the world. Every day that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo remain in prison is an assault on press freedom,” Chua noted.
According to Time magazine’s assistant managing editor Ben Goldberger, this year’s honorees should serve as “a reminder of the importance of defending free expression and the pursuit of truth and facts.”
“That is the baseline for all free societies. Democracy certainly cannot function without a shared understanding of the facts,” Goldberger was quoted as saying.
Featured image via YouTube / TIME