The Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom award of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), has been awarded posthumously to Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The award was made in Glasgow, Scotland, during the 71st World News Media Congress, 26th World Editors Forum and 3rd Women in News Summit. Saudi journalist and filmmaker Safa Al Ahmad accepted the award in the name of Khashoggi.
On Oct. 2, 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to collect documents related to his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz. He never came out. Since Khashoggi’s murder, 11 people have been charged over the journalist’s death, with five facing the death penalty. None of those charged have been identified.
Since the 1980s, Jamal Khashoggi had been a mainstay in the Saudi and Middle East journalism landscape, with an upbringing that allowed him access to the inner circles of the Saudi royal family. Khashoggi had more recently become a regular columnist for The Washington Post. He was a vocal critic of the Saudi government.
Saudi Arabia does not allow independent media, WAN-IFRA says. The number of journalists and citizen-journalists in detention has tripled since the start of 2017, according to Reporters Without Borders, with most held arbitrarily and likely facing torture.
Globally, nine out of ten journalist murders go unsolved, with neither perpetrators nor those who order the killings being held accountable for their actions, according to a news release from WAN-IFRA.