58 journalists were killed after Khashoggi murder
Today will mark the first anniversary of the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi death squad on the premises of Saudi Arabia’s Consulate General in Istanbul. A lot has been written with chilling details on how the prominent journalist was killed and dismantled by the squad.
Contemporary world history has already classified this inhumane crime as one of the most notorious, brutal and frightening acts of terror premeditated and perpetrated by senior Saudi security and intelligence officials upon the order of their executive.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a recent interview, said he bears responsibility for what happened to Khashoggi but denied once again that he ordered the killing. He has described the incident as a rogue operation by his operatives, in a bid to distract attention.
If he were a man bearing responsibility, he would have cooperated with Turkey to further investigate this act of terror. He would have guaranteed that the perpetrators and those who ordered the killing are truly prosecuted and sentenced. Equally important, a man with responsibility would also explain what happened to Khashoggi’s body.
In a recent editorial penned for the Washington Post, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan assured that Turkey will continue its efforts to shed light on the Khashoggi murder, while reiterating that his government will avoid turning this act of crime into a bilateral issue with Saudi Arabia.
To tell the bitter truth, many countries, including the most democratic ones, followed the same line when dealing with the Khashoggi case to avoid damaging bilateral relations with the oil-rich country.
This clearly prevented a global, effective and regulated response to the shocking killing of a journalist, which could have been a crucial turning point for the protection of journalists around the world.
A global response to the freedom of the press is becoming more and more important in today’s world, where fundamental human rights and all kinds of freedom are at stake under a growing number of influential populist leaders.
According to UNESCO figures, in the last decade, nearly twice as many journalists have been killed compared to the previous decade. Between 2009 and 2019, 956 journalists were killed. This figure was 415 between 1999 and 2009. It’s also horrifying that only one-tenth of these murders can be fully prosecuted.
All this reveals the fact that journalism has become more dangerous in the recent period. Ways to silence them include brutal murders, imprisonment, prosecution on unfounded accusations, and pressure on the employers to dismiss the journalists.
Some governments are aware of the decline in free press and have already taken action to reverse this trend. The governments of Britain and Canada recently launched a new effort to create a platform for the participation of countries with similar ideas to defend journalism around the world. A conference dedicated to this theme took place in London in July, hoping that this effort would work.
But while all this happens, after a year passed since Khashoggi was killed, the world has already proven that not much has changed for journalists. It’s sad, but true: 58 more journalists have been killed since the Khashoggi murder. Those who hesitate to act when necessary do not have much right to issue condemnation statements regarding murdered journalists.