Without justice for the murder of Khashoggi media accross the Middle East is at risk. If Saudi Arabia can get away with it why not other countries?
As we enter the seventh week after the killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, the well known Saudi journalist, it seems that the world has not made up its mind whether to bring the killers and perpetrators to international justice where a real and impartial trial can take place.
Without such a trial for those who executed the crimes as well as those who gave the orders, I don’t think that journalists around the globe will feel satisfied, on the contrary, they will feel more dispirited and more suspicious about the intention of the world towards "freedom of speech."
Not only that but if the world allows the killers and perpetrators to walk free without punishment, one should expect increasing levels of aggression towards journalists and journalism.
In a recent article "A partner, We Can’t Depend On," Susan Rice, the Ex-US national security adviser under the Obama administration, explained why the world should handle the Khashoggi case carefully otherwise MBS would be more dangerous and risky not only to American security but to its allies as well.
“If we fail to punish him directly and target only those around him, the crown prince will be further emboldened to take extreme actions. If we do punish him, which we must, Prince Mohammed, petulant and proud, is equally likely to behave more irresponsibly to demonstrate his independence and exact retribution against his erstwhile Western partners” she added.
Some believe that if MBS escapes punishment, he will become another Saddam Hussein and that the other tyrants in our region would be more hostile and aggressive towards the media and journalists.
If the world fails to punish MBS, there will be more aggression on personal freedoms and the media not only in Saudi Arabia but also in Egypt, where there are more than 100 journalists behind bars without any juridical verdict, some of them are detained in unknown places.
According to Reporters without Borders, Egypt lies at the bottom of the ranking of Freedom of the Press in 2018.
On May 16, 2018, while he was at a youth conference General Abdel Fattah el Sisi, the leader of the military coup in Egypt, publicly threatened Egyptian media outlets abroad by saying, “those working in media abroad and cheating citizens will be held accountable, I swear.”
A few months later on September 12, 2018, Mohammed al Baz, one of the pro-government TV show presenters, announced on his show that killing opposition media figures abroad is welcomed and allowed and he encouraged anyone to kill Moataz Matar and Mohamed Nasser, both of whom are prominent TV presenters abroad.
It is not only Sisi and his media lackeys who are urging the killing of the opposition abroad, his political allies and members of parliament are doing the same, for example, Mortada Mansour, the president of Al Zamalek sports club and member of parliament, did the same more than once.
He used to go public with another TV show presenter, Ahmed Mousa, and call for kidnapping and bringing back all the opposition media figures in Qatar and Turkey – myself included.
Allowing MBS to act with impunity means that Khashoggi will not be the last but will be a number in a long list of journalists who would be murdered simply for doing their job.
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT World.
We welcome all pitches and submissions to TRT World Opinion – please send them via email, to firstname.lastname@example.org