Time ‘Person of Year’ goes to journalists, including imprisoned Reuters pair

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Time magazine on Tuesday named a group of journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of Reuters journalists imprisoned by Myanmar’s government, as its “Person of the Year,” in a cover story headlined “The Guardians and the War on Truth.”

The honour went to a series of journalists including Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who the government of Myanmar convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act in a case seen as a test of democratic freedoms in Myanmar.

Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who the government of Myanmar convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, named TIME's Person of the Year 2018, are seen on the cover which named journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper, as its "Person of the Year," in this image released from New York, U.S., December 11, 2018. Courtesy Time Magazine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
TIME's Person of the Year 2018 cover which named journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of Reuters journalists imprisoned by Myanmar's government, as its "Person of the Year," is seen in this image released from New York, U.S., December 11, 2018. Courtesy Time Magazine/Handout via REUTERS
The staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper named TIME's Person of the Year 2018, are seen on the cover which named journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of Reuters journalists imprisoned by Myanmar's government, as its "Person of the Year," in this image released from New York, U.S., December 11, 2018. Courtesy Time Magazine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Maria Ressa, a Filipina journalist named one of TIME's Person of the Year 2018, is shown on cover which named journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of Reuters journalists imprisoned by Myanmar's government, as its "Person of the Year," in this image released from New York, U.S., December 11, 2018. Courtesy Time Magazine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
FILE PHOTO: Maria Ressa, an executive of online news platform Rappler, speaks to the media after posting bail for tax evasion charges at Regional Trial Court Branch 265 in Pasig City, Metro Manila, in Philippines, December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People protest against the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, Britain, October 26 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

Also honoured was Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi was killed two months ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul when he went there to collect documents for his forthcoming marriage.

The 95-year-old magazine also honoured Maria Ressa, the founder of the Philippine news site Rappler that has been a frequent critic of that nation’s President Rodrigo Duterte, and the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where a gunman shot and killed five people in June.

Time said it chose to honour journalism at time when the practice critical democracy is under threat both from governments and technological advances. Its annual distinction is intended to recognise the person, group, thing or idea that had the greatest influence on world events that year.

“For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians — Jamal Khashoggi, the Capital Gazette, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo — are Time’s Person of the Year 2018,” Time editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.

Ressa and her site were charged with tax evasion by the Philippines’ justice department in November.

The four groups were highlighted on four separate covers of the magazine, one of which features the wives of the imprisoned Reuters reporters embracing one another as they hold photos of their husbands.

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