TIME magazine named ‘The Guardians’ – journalists who have been targeted for the work they do – as the Person of the Year for 2018. It has released four covers featuring courageous journalists who have taken great risks to speak the truth. The four journalists include Jamal Khashoggi, the Capital Gazette staff, Maria Ressa, and Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. It is the first time since the honour has been established that some of the honorees were not alive.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi-born journalist who wrote a column for the Washington Post, was a critic of the arbitrary policies of the Saudi leadership. Unfortunately, he paid the price of this with his life – he was brutally murdered in the Turkish consulate of his country in October 2018.
In an incident that rocked the journalism world, a gunman opened fire at the office of Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland in June 2018, killing five journalists and injuring two. Investigations revealed that the accused held a long-standing resentment against the magazine and had also sued it for defamation.
Maria Ressa, the founder of the online news site Rappler, is a journalist from the Philippines who has criticized President Rodrigo Duterte on various issues. She and her team have been facing intimidation and harassment due to their investigative journalism, as is evident from the government revoking the license of the magazine.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are journalists from Myanmar who have been targeted by the government for their work on the murder of ten Rohingyas by the army. They are currently serving a seven-year sentence awarded to them by the government.
At a time when journalists across the world have been under threat for speaking out against despots and authorities, this award rightly honours those who have proven that the pen is mightier than the sword!