Truth under fire

As if to commemorate today’s one year anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of Reuters journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, Time Magazine today features both men on one of its four covers dedicated to “The Guardians of Truth,” who Time collectively named Person of the Year.

The others guardians were: Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi journalist; Maria Ressa, Philippine journalist and publisher of Rappler; and the staff of Capital Gazette, a Washington-area newspaper that had five of its members gunned down this year.

Time wrote about the selection in a lengthy article, explaining its choices and naming many others who have put their lives on the line chasing and defending the truth.

Among them were Shahidul Alam, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Mother Mushroom), Dulcina Parra, Luz Mely Reyes, Andras Dezso, Can Dündar, Tatiana Felgengauer, Arkady Babchenko, Amal Habani.

“This year’s choice may reflect ominous geopolitical trends,” notes executive editor Ben Goldberger, who oversees Person of the Year, “but it also shows that regular people can have enormous influence by standing for something bigger than themselves.”

Meanwhile, in Cambodia, 29-year-old Chak Sopheap, director of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, received a Franco-German award for defending human rights.

Chak Sopheap in turn dedicated the prize to “all those in Cambodia who put their personal safety at risk to help empower those most vulnerable to abuse, to defend the human rights of everyone, and to attempt to hold those in power accountable and achieve more transparency.”

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