The Honorable Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley,
January 22, 2019
You have received my call that an endowment to journalism be made by a $1 billion dollar penalty assessed against the Saudi government on behalf of Jamal Khashoggi. Thank your for your reply.
Please see this call for Justice for Kashoggi: https://truthtopowerpdx.wixsite.com/justiceforkhashoggi
Please see this original appeal for Justice for Kashoggi: https://gijn.org/2018/10/29/jamal-khashoggi/
Within weeks of Khashoggi’s assassination, I made a call for justice for Jamal Khashoggi; I argue that the attack on Khashoggi was more than a murder of a journalist. When agents of a nation/state act with impunity to assassinate a journalist, a tremendous breach of the social order occurs, for an attack against a journalist is ultimately an attack on the institution of journalism, a necessary agency in a free society. And so, when the Crown Prince ordered the hit on Khashoggi he revealed total contempt for human rights, dignity of a free and open society, respect for rule of law. Therefore a severe sanction should be assessed against the Saudi nation that will provide a lasting measure of justice that complements the egregiousness and callousness shown by Saudi agents.
As you are in the process of designing sanctions against the Saudi government and individual members, consider the importance of using Khashoggi’s assassination as an opportunity to lever sanctions into financial penalties that will then really serve justice, for what better justice could there be than that there is an endowment that guarantees services to journalists risking their lives to speak truth to power, as endeavored Jamal Khashoggi.
Please include a penalty and plan for collecting any judgment in any laws passed to sanction Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And identify an endowment fund to collect penalties and enumerate a process for releasing funds.
Please review this article from the Global Investigative Journalism Network, it speaks to the need for funding to support investigative and human rights oriented journalism. https://gijn.org/2016/03/17/investigative-journalism-and-foreign-aid-a-huge-return-on-investment/
The experts in the journalism industry know what journalists need to be safe and secure, but funds to support this important work is in short supply.
Critically, the law(s) needs to be written so that when a state agent acts with impunity, an investigation is triggered, a civil judgment is made, then a financial penalty is assessed, and sanctions posed to enforce the judgment.
I hope that from such a law, journalists will be held in higher esteem, and acts of impunity will trigger an expeditious process for investigating, and enable a judgment against an offending state agent, or other corrupt figure. This event will lessen the inclination of state agents to act with impunity.
Finally, I am attaching my original call, and an unpublished essay amplifying the argument in the call.
Thank you for fighting for justice for Khashoggi and for journalists world wide.