As reports detail the potentially gruesome end of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's life, The Washington Post has published the final column he wrote before his disappearance.
Khashoggi, who is believed to have been killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, advocated for greater freedom of the press in Arab nations in his last column.
"The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events," Khashoggi wrote. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices."
Why was the piece published?
The Washington Post received the column from Khashoggi's translator one day after he was reported missing in Turkey. The paper held off on publishing it, with hopes that Khashoggi would return.
"The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together," wrote editor Karen Attiah. "Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post."
What else did he write?
Khashoggi had a passion for the expansion of a free press in the Arab world, understanding that the lack of information made it easier for oppressive government regimes to control citizens.
"Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate," Khashoggi wrote. "There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet."
As someone who has vocally criticized the Saudi government in the past, Khashoggi decried the lack of consequences for governments that suppress information. He gave the example of Saleh al-Shehi, a Saudi reporter who was sentenced to five years in prison for speaking out against the Saudi government.
"These actions no longer carry the consequences of a backlash from the international community," Khashoggi wrote. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence."
Attiah wrote that Khashoggi apparently paid the ultimate price for the cause he believed in.
"This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world," Attiah wrote. "A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together."
(H/T The Hill)