Thank you, Senator Warner, and thank you, Chairman Schiff and Co-Chair Chabot. On behalf of The Washington Post, I appreciate the opportunity to be part of this special tribute.
Jamal’s death has touched his Washington Post colleagues deeply. Yet this story is not just about the murder of one innocent journalist. Jamal’s killing is part of an escalating attack against press freedom that is being waged by tyrants around the world.
This is why we cannot let Jamal’s story simply fade away. His assassination is in many ways a “red line”: a threshold where those who believe in human rights and free speech must stand firm against those who would callously snuff them out.
The brutality of Jamal’s murder, reported to be on orders of the Crown Prince … the extensive Saudi efforts to cover it up … and our government’s apparent willingness to accept these repeated lies … have shocked the collective conscience of freedom-loving people around the world.
How we respond to Jamal’s killing demonstrates how committed we are to a fundamental American value: support for a free press both at home and abroad.
Americans rely on independent journalists around the world—especially those working in closed societies where facts are hard to come by—to cut through the propaganda and bring us the truth.
Our political leaders need full and detailed information in order to make crucial decisions about America’s national security. American business leaders need reliable insights in order to make wise commercial investments.
American voters need to know which countries are friends and which are foes, so they can evaluate our foreign policy and hold our elected officials accountable.
Having such information is fundamental to our freedom. And any policy by any government that silences reporters, and restricts access to this information, is an attack on our country and everything we stand for.
The world is carefully watching how America will respond to this challenge. We should not allow the size of a tyrant’s checkbook to blind us to the importance of standing up for our values.
Congress can demand full and immediate transparency into the circumstances of Jamal’s killing. You can, and we hope will, hold the perpetrators of Jamal’s murder to account—no matter where the investigation leads.
Jamal’s killers, and those who would seek to emulate them, must hear from the United States and the civilized world: If you jail, if you torture, or if you murder a journalist, there will be serious consequences.
Thank you for the leadership you are providing to protect these values that are so fundamental to our freedom.