For the second year in a row, TIME Magazine has chosen a group, not an individual, as their Person of the Year. Last year it was "The Silence Breakers," the group of women who jump started the "Me Too" movement to speak out against sexual harassment. This year, it's "The Guardians," journalists around the globe who have been persecuted for pursuing the truth. TIME Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal announced this year's winner(s) on the "TODAY" show Tuesday.
With a record number of reporters behind bars around the planet — the Committee to Protect Journalists documented 262 cases in 2017— an avalanche of misinformation on social media and government officials from the United States to the Philippines dismissing critical, real reporting as "fake news," Time is spotlighting a handful of journalists who have one thing in common: They were targeted for their work. (NBC News)
Among the journalists listed are Maria Ressa, who has reported critically on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, currently serving a 7-year sentence in Myanmar for reporting on the military's mass killing of Rohingya Muslims.
This is the first time that the magazine also chose deceased individuals for their Person of the Year issue. Capital Gazette journalists John McNamera, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, and sales associate Rebecca Smith, who were killed in July, were on the list. So too was Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2. He had often spoken out against the Saudi government.
"This is the first time we’ve chosen someone no longer alive as Person of the Year, but it’s also very rare that a person’s influence grows so immensely in death,” Felsenthal explained.