In these times of unprecedented attacks upon journalists that have left too many dead, including recent violent deaths of two women journalists in Malta and in Bulgaria, the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi from the compound of the consulate general of Saudi Arabia, in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, this year, raises many flags as to the blatant war upon a free Press.
Khashoggi's disappearance comes amid a recent rising number of journalist deaths across the globe, including last year's brutal car-bombing that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Malta and last week's vicious rape and murder of Viktoria Marinova, in Bulgaria. In 2015, 69 journalists were killed in connection with their work, 74 in 2016, 71 in 2017 and 43 thus far in 2018.
With regards to Khashoggi, apparently the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia disliked his reporting. Described as a former insider of the Saudi royal court, Khashoggi reportedly fell out of grace with the Kingdom and had been living in the United States (US).
However, on October 2, and in Turkey, video footage confirmed Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul reportedly to receive documentation to permit his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. Reports said his fiancee stayed outside. But Khashoggi never returned.
Turkey has charged that he was killed within the Saudi consulate and it has blamed Saudi operatives who entered the country on the day Khashoggi disappeared with carrying out the crime. Saudi Arabia has denied the killing.
Yet, the disappearance and/or death of this journalist underscores a growing violent hostility to a Free Press and to journalists, especially to those exposing corruption and to those not toeing the line of authoritarians. The assaults on journalists must cease. All media must unite to expose the dangers to the Free Press and to bring about the end of growing violent acts against journalists.