The fact remains that Khashoggi was killed for criticizing the policies of MBS—how he was trying to jump up the ladder to hold the power, and how he was keeping an eye on the activities of its citizens over social media and other platforms. It was Khashoggi who brought it to the fore how he side-lined one of the members of the royal family and made him pledge allegiance. MBS is the de-facto head of Saudi Arabia and anyone who has been found critiquing the crown has been silenced—something that happened with Khashoggi even as he once was a staunch supporter of MBS’s economic policies. Apart from other matters, what Khashoggi opposed and wrote about was the dangerous surveillance of the Saudi government, which was the brainchild of the MBS being executed by his favorites.
But what is not clear here is the stand of the US concerning such incidents happening in other countries across the globe. There are incidents of journalists being harassed, imprisoned and in many cases killed for bringing out the truth, however, the US–as it has been projecting itself as the savior and defender of democratic and humanistic values—has been maintaining a criminal silence on such cases. If we, for example, talk of Asia, then there are numerous such cases where the journalists were and even are being made to face the worst, but what galore is the criminal silence of world powers, especially the US, known for just beating around the bush; lack of will to act because it seems not to know that the journalists, only when protected, can ensure free and independent media: crucial for any democracy across the world.
The need of the hour is to formulate a global charter for ensuring the protection and safety of the journalists working across the globe. It becomes the moral responsibility of all the countries, especially the US, to come forward, lead the movement, and ensure that the journalists who work for transparency to prevail and democratic values flourish and gain hold. At the same time, there is a need for assessing the world press freedom index, once again and ensuring that countries that have turned press freedom into a joke, are taken to the task, and made to toe the line. It is high time to have an action plan for the protection of Journalists!