OurView: Murder of Saudi Arabian journalist emphasizes need for free speech


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Jamal Khashoggi had an extensive career as a journalist.

Sierra Rozen and Lauren Sanchez

Free speech is something that most Americans end up taking for granted. In this country many of us have the privilige of not having to live in fear of getting killed over disagreeing with our government.

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was recently murdered after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi entered to procure papers about his divorce, and was immediately detained by government officials.

After being brutally tortured, Khashoggi’s head was cut off and the rest of his body was dismembered. The reason was for his death was simply for speaking his mind.

Khashoggi relocated to the United States in 2017 after being driven from his job in Saudi Arabia. During his job at The Washington Post, Khashoggi continued to write articles criticizing the Saudi Arabian government.

The Post even went to the extreme of translating his articles into Arabic so that his message could be widespread. This could have ultimately been why he was targeted.

Not only did the government deny that Khashoggi had been murdered in the first place, they also had someone try and pose as his body double and wear his clothes while exiting the consulate to make it seem like he was still alive.

Eighteen days after the murder, the government finally admitted that Khashoggi had died inside the consulate, though they said that they need another month to fully investigate his death.

While Khashoggi’s death is extremely tragic, it begs an even bigger question: how much do we, as Americans, take our privilege of free speech for granted?

Personally, as Viewpoints editors, we deal with this stuff all the time. When our government does something that we don’t agree with, we tend to write an article stating our opinion about it, publish it and not give it a second thought.

As journalists, we never have to wonder if a trip to Washington D.C. will end up in us getting murdered. Never do we worry if our opinion will upset the wrong people and get us sent death threats.

In our minds, we are just doing our job and reporting on the issues that we deem to be important. We don’t think about the consequences of it; we simply act on our emotions.

While it is a great thing that we don’t have to worry about these things, we should be more concerned that these kinds of things are allowed to happen in other countries. What kind of world do we live in where journalists are killed for doing their job?

Of course, we can’t go into other countries and force them to make these changes to their government even though that’s the U.S’s favorite past time. What we can do is spread the word about these injustices and hope that if we advocate for protections of freedom of speech worldwide, people will understand how important it is.

So keep making noise about freedom of speech. Tweet about it. Write about it. Make videos about it. Let the world know that it needs freedom of speech.