- A column Jamal Khashoggi filed shortly before he went missing early this month was published online by The Washington Post on Wednesday evening.
- In the column, the Saudi journalist argued in favour of a free press in the Middle East.
- “Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate,” Khashoggi wrote.
- His Washington Post editor said his final article was a testament to his commitment to a “freedom he apparently gave his life for.”
- Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and is feared dead.
- Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia of killing Khashoggi, who was often critical of the Saudi government in his writing.
In the column, the Saudi journalist argued in favour of a free press in the Middle East.
“Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate,” Khashoggi wrote. “There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet.”
Khashoggi called for the creation of an “independent international forum” to allow ordinary people in the Arab world to address “the structural problems” their societies face.
“The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power,” Khashoggi added. “The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices.”
Karen Attiah, the Global Opinions editor at The Post, wrote a note at the top of Khashoggi’s newest article.
“I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul,” Attiah said. “The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen.”
Attiah added, “This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post.”
Khashoggi’s editor said the article “perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world.”
“A freedom,” she added, “he apparently gave his life for.”
Attiah said she was “forever grateful” that she had the chance to work with Khashoggi and that he chose The Post as his “final journalistic home.”
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia of brutally killing Khashoggi, a Saudi national who often criticised the Saudi government in his reporting.
The Saudi government has vehemently denied these allegations but, after more than two weeks, still hasn’t provided any evidence Khashoggi is alive.
Khashoggi had a rich, complicated career before he went missing.
As a young reporter, he travelled to Afghanistan to interview Osama bin Laden, who at the time was among CIA-backed militants fighting the Soviet Union. Khashoggi also covered the Gulf War, and his time as a foreign correspondent quickly propelled him into a successful career as a journalist and editor in Saudi Arabia.
The media industry in Saudi Arabia is strictly controlled by the government, which meant Khashoggi developed close ties to the country’s leadership over the years. He eventually served as an adviser to the royal family.
But he began to fear for his safety last year as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman moved to consolidate power, arresting fellow princes and businessmen – including friends of Khashoggi.
After Khashoggi was critical of President Donald Trump and the Saudi government’s apparent trust in the US leader, the royal family barred Khashoggi from writing. Six months later, in June 2017, Khashoggi left for the US.
Before his disappearance, Khashoggi split his time between the US state of Virginia, Istanbul, and London, and was a US resident with a green card. He wrote for The Washington Post after leaving Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi journalist was weeks away from marrying his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, when he disappeared. Khashoggi went to the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents that would allow his marriage to move forward. Cengiz waited outside for Khashoggi for roughly 11 hours, but he never returned.
Khashoggi in the past said he always considered himself a patriot, viewing his criticism of the Saudi government as a sign of his love for Saudi Arabia and a desire for conditions there to improve.
In a recent article for The New York Times, Cengiz wrote: “Jamal was a patriot. When people referred to him as a dissident, he would reject that definition. ‘I am an independent journalist using his pen for the good of his country,’ he would say.”
“His voice and his ideas will reverberate, from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, and across the world,” Cengiz added.
“Oppression never lasts forever. Tyrants eventually pay for their sins.”
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- Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance is an ’embarrassing’ ‘crisis’ for Trump and ‘one of the roughest foreign-policy challenges’ he’s faced yet, experts say
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- Lindsey Graham says ‘toxic’ Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had Khashoggi ‘murdered’ and can ‘never be a world leader’
- Trump touts Saudi king’s ‘very strong’ denial and says ‘rogue killers’ could be responsible for Khashoggi disappearance
- Trump officials dodge questions on US support for Saudi Arabia amid Khashoggi crisis
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