The Fate of Journalism

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Christopher Penev

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Lion Air Tragedy
November 12, 2018
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On the 28th of September, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a well known Saudi Arabian journalist and columnist for the Washington Post, disappeared after entering the Saudi embassy in Turkey to obtain proof of divorce papers in order to marry his fiance. Upon suspicion, his fiance waiting patiently outside the building called Turkish officials, who immediately began a vigorous operation to find out who was responsible. CCTV film shows a van of more than a dozen men swiftly entering the consulate shortly after the Saudi journalist entered, and after almost an hour fleeing the scene. No trace was left behind (Hall).

Khashoggi was exiled from his native country for speaking out against the regime, now headed by royal Prince Mohammed bin Salman. So, it didn’t take long for both Turkish officials and the rest of the world to challenge the Saudi regime as responsible for potentially murdering the journalist. Which, obviously, would be a bad look for the new Prince in terms of human rights violations. Turkish officials also claim that they have audio evidence of the violent interrogation and then the murder of Khashoggi in the embassy, however, many experts are skeptical of its release due to suspicions that the audio came from hidden microphones in the embassy, which would be a violation of the international code of conduct. Reports also say that those responsible, in this case, the Saudi kill squad which swiftly executed the journalist, just barely managed to escape the country on a private jet just hours later. On top of that, a stunt double, who was reported to have been dressed as Khashoggi, left the embassy after the murder and ‘disappeared’ (Hall).

The response by the U.S. was skeptical, for the U.S. has economic ties to the Saudi’s due to their stake in oil, but after the Saudi’s admitted to the killing of Khashoggi as accidental after many deflecting claims, the U.S. government wished to ban visas to those responsible. However, while this story has been headline news since the day it happened, many other journalists have been murdered in vain.

Victoria Marinova, a 30-year-old journalist from Bulgaria investigating the country’s corruptive use of grants by the European Union was raped and killed earlier this month in Ruse. Marinova and two other journalists were killed in the past year in Europe alone, all while investigating government corruption. Back in February, Jan Kusiak, a Slovakian journalist was shot and killed along with his fiancee. Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese reporter was killed near her home by a mysterious car bomb, also studying government corruption (McAuley).

All in all, the fate of investigative journalism hangs in the balance, and not only that but the freedom of speech and press, too. The only thing stopping a corrupt system in certain countries is the power of media and the attention that it can bring to an issue. As soon as we allow to let these murders go under-reported, the more the corrupt side wins.

 

Sources:

Hall Beirut, Richard. “Everything We Know about the Death of Jamal Khashoggi.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 24 Oct. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jamal-khashoggi-journalist-death-facts-saudi-arabia-consulate-istanbul-erdogan-turkey-a8599756.html.

McAuley, James. “A Bulgarian Journalist Was Raped and Killed in a Case That Has Shocked Europe.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 Oct. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-bulgarian-journalist-was-raped-and-murdered-in-a-case-that-has-shocked-europe/2018/10/08/7a4bed2a-cb08-11e8-ad0a-0e01efba3cc1_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8adbc7da87b3.

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