TIME magazine has released its annual list of people of the year for 2018. The magazine gave the title – which goes to the people who they have judged as being the most influential over the past year – to Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, two young Reuters reporters, and the staff of the Capital Gazette.
In 2018, numerous journalists have been targeted because of their work, which is why the magazine’s Person of the Year cover featured “The Guardians.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi critic and a contributing columnist to the Washington Post, was murdered at the hand of assassins in the Saudi embassy in Turkey. The widely held belief, which has been supported by the CIA’s investigation, is that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, ordered that assassination to silence Khashoggi’s criticism of the Saudi kingdom and his rule. This was the first year that Time‘s cover featured a deceased person.
The two young Reuters reporters, Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, are serving a seven-year sentence for investigating and documenting the mass murder of 10 Rohingya Muslims. According to a New York Times article about the two journalists, as they were led to a police van in handcuffs, Wa Lone shouted: “I have no fear. I have not done anything wrong. I believe in justice, democracy and freedom.”
The staff of the Capital Gazette have continued on after five of their colleagues were gunned down in their newsroom on June 28. These 5 journalists were killed because of a previous grudge that was held by the murderer, Jarrod Ramos, with the Gazette over an article that the Gazette wrote regarding a criminal case he was in. Ramos sued the newspaper over defamation, but he lost.
Ressa, who co-founded the news site Rappler, covered the brutal drug war of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, including killings that Duterte has committed. Duterte has called Rappler “fake news” and has banned its reporters from presidential events. The Philippine government recently charged Ressa with tax fraud, a move widely viewed as an attempt to crackdown on Rappler’s reporting. She faces a possible 10-year sentence.
The four guardians are representative of other journalists who have been put in danger in 2018 while trying to cover the news. Fifty-two journalists passed away died in 2018.
Sophomore Elias Kim stated, “It’s amazing for two reasons. First, there is a rise in awareness in the general populace over how dangerous journalism is. Second, the Time’s article’s use of the word Guardian shows how important the truth is and the many threats against it.”
TIME editor, Edward Felsenthal, said, “The first move in the authoritarian playbook is the control of information, the suppression of people who try to get the facts out, and we saw that in a major way.”
TIME’s cover has featured many influential people over the years, including Jeff Bezzo and the #MeToo movement. However, the word influential is interpreted by the TIME organization very widely. This year, the magazine interpreted the most influential subject as journalism and its spreading of the truth.