ABC News (Australia) / YouTube The mystery murder of Jamal Khashoggi 1539874046.jpg...
ABC News (Australia) / YouTube

Donald Trump calls the free press the “enemy of the people,” says that no one can prove Vladimir Putin has killed any journalists and has done everything possible to protect Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman from the fallout of a horrific murder. In the meantime, the final column from Jamal Khashoggi arrived at the Washington Post just after he first went missing. The Post held off releasing the column for several days, in hopes that Khashoggi would reappear and work with the Post editors on some suggested changes for the piece … that is never going to happen.

So the Washington Post has now released Jamal Khashoggi’s final column, as written.

I was recently online looking at the 2018 “Freedom in the World” report published by Freedom House and came to a grave realization. There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as “free.” That nation is Tunisia. Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of “partly free.” The rest of the countries in the Arab world are classified as “not free.”

As a result, Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.

All the voices of opposition in those countries—all the journalists that Trump calls “fake news” and “enemies of the people”—have been silenced. The result is not a better-informed public. It’s a better-controlled public. When the United States will not lead the fight to stand up for freedom of the press, it makes it much, much easier for that fight to be lost everywhere.

These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.

As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.

And now one more voice has been stilled.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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