Washington Post Releases Khashoggi’s Last Column: Arab Gov’ts ‘Have Been Given Free Rein to Continue Silencing the Media’


The Washington Post has released Jamal Khashoggi‘s final column before his disappearance––a powerful piece on the importance of free expression and a free press for the Arab world.

Khashoggi begins by writing about how in the most recent “Freedom in the World” report, only one Arab nation is considered free and only a few of them are “partly free.”

“As a result,” he writes, “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.”

And Khashoggi very directly addresses the “free rein” Arab governments have been given to “continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.”

Khashoggi writes at length about press freedom in the Arab world and concludes by saying, “The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.”

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and there is mounting international pressure on Saudi Arabia over his killing.

His final column––which you can read in full here––comes with this note from editor Karen Attiah:

I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.

[photo via AFP/Getty Images]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac