The horrifying murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi should wake us up to the danger journalists increasingly face around the world.
Yesterday I put this to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. I was pleased to hear him encourage all embassies around the world to engage their host governments on freedom of the press. This is becoming increasingly urgent.
Reporters Without Borders’ 2018 Press Freedom Index found growing animosity towards journalists around the world. The killing by Saudi Arabia’s agents is part of a wider pattern. Many prominent world leaders have condoned violence towards journalists in recent years, including Donald Trump in the US, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. This hostile rhetoric towards the media is increasingly leading to violence, according to the Index.
Tragically, Khashoggi himself was all too aware of this problem. In his final column for The Washington Post, he wrote about the lack of journalistic freedom in the Arab world. We must make sure that Khashoggi did not die in vain. Honouring his life’s work means ensuring all journalists can do their jobs without fearing for their lives. If not, democracy dies.