Press Freedom, Foreign Relations, And The Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi

“There are parts of the world where a tweet can land you in jail, or worse… get you killed.”

Gus Navarro

Last week, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi went to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, and never came back out. He was a Saudi National who had been critical of the country’s royal family and government.

Turkish and American intelligence say this was a hit, orchestrated by the Saudi prince himself.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has been slow to accept that determination.

This situation raised serious questions about the relationship between America and its close ally, and reminds of the dangers that still attend press freedom in the Middle East.

Ali Harb, a Dearborn-based journalist, joins Detroit Today to talk about Khashoggi’s apparent murder and the affect its had on the Arab American population in Michigan, as well as other journalists.

Harb travels the world, and reports on foreign politics as well as the Arab American community in the United States. He says Khashoggi’s disappearance has given him pause as a journalist.

“There are parts of the world where a tweet can land you in jail, or worse… get you killed,” says Harb.”I will be more careful, because anything that you’ve written, even if it’s seemingly innocent to you or mild to you, somebody may have taken it the wrong way.” 

Harb says he also hears a lot of curiosity from people from other countries about the strain President Donald Trump places on international relations.

“There is certainly now a feeling that we’re not dealing with someone who is pursuing American interests at all costs, we’re dealing with someone who is unstable.”

To hear more from Harb, and to hear from Wayne State senior lecturer Saeed Khan, click on the audio player above.


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