By CNS Fellow Lawrence Wright
“On Thursday, I will be joining the documentarian Alex Gibney and the former F.B.I. special agent Ali Soufan, along with lawmakers, journalists, human-rights advocates, and friends, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., to honor Jamal Khashoggi, who has become a symbol of freedom of speech around the world. The date will mark a hundred days since his murder. We will remember his humanity and his courage.
I met Jamal sixteen years ago, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He was the deputy editor of the Arab News; I was mentoring young reporters at that newspaper’s English-language competitor, the Saudi Gazette. The rules of the press in Saudi Arabia were that you couldn’t write about the government, the royal family, or religion, which didn’t leave much on the plate. In any case, the press outlets were largely owned or controlled by members of the royal family, Al Saud. The Gazette was then closely identified with Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, the Minister of the Interior, so I was teaching my wards skills that they couldn’t actually use.”
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