Time's 2018 Person of the Year Are "The Guardians and the War on Truth"


Time announced the 2018 Person of the Year Tuesday morning as "The Guardians," or four individuals and one newspaper - all of whom are journalists - who have been crucial to exposing "the manipulation and abuse of truth." 

The four journalists named by Time include; Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggithe journalist who was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October; the staff at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland, where a gunman entered and killed five people back in June; the chief executive at the Rappler news site, which has come under legal threat by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte; and journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed for their work on exposing the mass killings of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. 

"Like all human gifts, courage comes to us at varying levels and at varying moments," Time magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote. "This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment: Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md."

Time's selection of Khashoggi marked the first time the magazine had ever chosen someone who is no longer alive as Person of the Year. However, Felsenthal said it was the journalist's work on holding Saudi Arabia's government accountable and not the details of his death, that made his selection an easy one. 

"It’s also very rare that a person’s influence grows so immensely in death," Felsenthal said. "His murder has prompted a global reassessment of the Saudi crown prince and a really long overdue look at the devastating war in Yemen."

The staff at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, were also honored for standing tall in the face of tragedy. In June, five staff members at the newspaper were fatally shot by a gunman who had been upset with the newspaper over coverage of him. 

Two Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were also being honored for their work exposing the mass killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. They've spent the last year in jail after police arrested them for possessing documents given to them by police - a  plot that's been described as a farce designed to punish the reporters for their work. 

The two reporters were sentenced to seven years in prison, despite testimony from an officer who called the operation a setup. 

Finally, Maria Ressa was praised as an extraordinary individual by Felsenthal on The Today Show Tuesday morning. Ressa is the chief executive of Rappler, a news outlet in the Philippines that has distinguished itself by its coverage of the brutal drug war being conducted by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. 

"From Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley, manipulation and abuse of truth is the common thread in so many of this year’s major headlines, an insidious and growing threat to freedom," Felsenthal added. "In its highest forms, influence - the measure that has for nine decades been the focus of TIME’s Person of the Year - derives from courage."


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