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In the days of Bin Salman and Trump journalists need readers support

first_imgOpen door ‘What happened to Jamal Khashoggi? The question stands for the daily efforts of all journalists to extract accountability from the powerful.’Photograph: Hasan Jamali/AP In the days of Bin Salman and Trump, journalists need readers’ support Paul Chadwick Share on Twitter Sun 21 Oct 2018 14.00 EDT Topics Read more Since you’re here… Shares156156 Share on Messenger comment Facebook Share on LinkedIn Donald Trump Journalists are being increasingly silenced. Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal death prompted me to make a symbolic gesture Those who rule by fear, and fear to explain their rule, fear questions. They kill messengers. They feel able to kill when “all the checks and balances are gone”, as Khashoggi told the American journalist Dexter Filkins about Saudi Arabia under Bin Salman.The embassy as addressee for a simple postal item symbolises something else among international norms that has been arrogantly abused in this dreadful episode. Harm has been done, not just to one man, not just to journalism, but to the notion of all countries’ missions abroad as places where their own citizens can seek aid and where foreigners, especially intending visitors to the country, may be welcomed, confer, and safely leave.Is Bin Salman to be held accountable or strengthened? It depends partly on his ally (so far) Donald Trump. Bone saws – that is where Trump’s spreading of hatred towards journalism and its serious practitioners leads. Khashoggi’s disappearance being so recent, it can only have been with calculated menace that in Montana last week Trump again stoked the crowd’s enmity towards reporters as he praised a politician for assaulting a journalist who had asked the politician questions. Bin Salman is only 33. He might yet change, and anyway his tenure is principally a matter for Saudis. But his enabler (retainer?) Trump will not change. He is out in the open now for the fact-based scrutiny and judgment of all who value the role of journalism in tempering power. Whether or not as ignorant as he seems, Trump is a clear and present danger to some essential checks and balances.Symbols, just symbols, but symbols have their own power. Maybe others will send Bin Salman their own demands for accountability, through social media or otherwise.I write this because my role is to represent readers’ interests. History teaches that one of the wreckers of democratic health is the gradual cowing and silencing of journalists. In my career I’ve seen it happen in isolated ways. It is happening more widely now, at what feels like a quickening pace. Journalists will resist, but they will need your support, readers. In speaking up for journalism, despite its many imperfections, you will be speaking up for yourself and for anyone who believes in freedom under law.• Paul Chadwick is the Guardian’s readers’ editor … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Mohammed bin Salman Share on WhatsAppcenter_img Pinterest Saudi Arabia Twitter Share on Twitter Share via Email Share via Email Open door Newspapers & magazines Newspapers Support The Guardian Share on Facebook Press freedom ‘The notebook symbolises Jamal Khashoggi and every journalist.’ Sometimes, the only available action is symbolic. Enraged by the apparent butchering of Jamal Khashoggi, and moved by an impassioned cry from a young person – “a bone saw … a bone saw!” – last week I sent the Saudi embassy a small notebook, empty except for a short question: “MBS: JK?”The notebook symbolises Jamal Khashoggi and every journalist. The question it asks of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, often referred to as MBS – what happened to Jamal Khashoggi? – stands for the daily efforts of all journalists to extract accountability from the powerful. Asking questions and disclosing the answers, or lack of them, is the fundamental responsibility, and contribution, of journalists to their communities. Mohammed bin Salman Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Jamal Khashoggi: murder in the consulate Reuse this contentlast_img read more