The Washington Post's has announced a fellowship in honour of its former columnist Jamal Khashoggi. As Saudi officials struggle to move past the Khashoggi killing, the fellowship could be another nuisance for Riyadh.
The US newspaper Washington Post announced it is to start a fellowship in the name of late journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
According to the paper, the fellowship aims to provide an independent platform for writers to share their perspectives and opinions, particularly those from places people where ‘freedom of expression’ is threatened.
As a symbolic gesture, the Post has announced the winner of the Human Rights Watch Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, Hala al Dosari, as its first fellowship beneficiary.
Al Dosari is a well-known critic of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, and has previously said: “What [Crown Prince] Mohammad bin Salman is doing under the name of ‘reforms’ is done as a part of political agenda, and it has nothing to do with reforms; in fact, people who advocated real reforms have been arrested since September 2017.”
By launching the fellowship in the name of Khashoggi - who was himself a harsh critic of the crown prince and his policies - the Washington Post is giving critics of the Saudi monarchy a chance to continue Khashoggi's legacy, observers believe.
The newspaper could give those who are critical of the Saudi government a much broader audience through the platform.
🔴 Hala Al-Dosari: What Mohammad bin Salman is doing in #SaudiArabia under the name of "reforms" is done as a part of political agenda, and it has nothing to do with reforms; in fact, people who advocated real reforms have been arrested since September 2017. pic.twitter.com/87Dv7Q2AAp— Prisoners of Conscie (@m3takl_en) March 26, 2018
Will Saudi Arabia ever most past the Khashoggi case?
Three months after the killing of Khashoggi, experts have said that the murder must be forgotten.
“Turkey will likely continue to push for an international investigation, seeking partners courageous enough to stand against Riyadh,” reported Osman Sert in Middle East Eye.
“But Saudi Arabia is already in recovery mode. Rather than removing the crown prince, Riyadh appointed former Ritz Carlton detainee Ibrahim al-Assaf as the new foreign minister in a sign of normalisation.”
The Washington Post reflected a similar sentiment with its report from January this year claiming that during the Davos Economic Forum the Saudi delegation, headed by the finance and foreign ministers, was “ambitiously” trying to convince politicians and business leaders to “forget about Khashoggi”.
The Saudi oil company Aramco organised a lavish party at the forum for political and business attendees.
In the meantime, two Turkish authors published a 228-paged book, mainly based on interviews with Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, on the late journalist’s political opposition towards Riyadh and his killing.
Cengiz told the European Parliament this month that there is “no closure until Khashoggi's remains are found.”
Former Saudi foreign minister Al Jubeir could only say that they do not know where Khashoggi’s body is.
Despite Saudi efforts to forget the killing, it does not seem like the headache Khashoggi is causing the kingdom and its crown prince will end any time soon.
In this, the fellowship is setting an example.