NEW YORK – Time magazine on Tuesday named a group of journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of Reuters journalists imprisoned by Myanmar’s government, as its “Person of the Year,” in a cover story headlined “The Guardians and the War on Truth.”
The honor went to a series of journalists including Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who the government of Myanmar convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act in a case seen as a test of democratic freedoms in Myanmar.
Also honored was Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi was killed two months ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul when he went there to collect documents for his forthcoming marriage.
The 95-year-old magazine also honored Maria Ressa, the founder of the Philippine news site Rappler that has been a frequent critic of that nation’s President Rodrigo Duterte, and the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where a gunman shot and killed five people in June.
Time said it chose to honor journalism at time when the practice critical democracy is under threat both from governments and technological advances. Its annual distinction is intended to recognize the person, group, thing or idea that had the greatest influence on world events that year.
“For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians — Jamal Khashoggi, the Capital Gazette, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo — are Time’s Person of the Year 2018,” Time editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.
Ressa and her site were charged with tax evasion by the Philippines’ justice department in November.
The four groups were highlighted on four separate covers of the magazine, one of which features the wives of the imprisoned Reuters reporters embracing one another as they hold photos of their husbands.