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Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

16 Oct, 2018 00:41:00

Photo: Collected

Jamal Khashoggi is one of the most prominent Saudi and Arab journalists and political commentators of his generation, owing to a career that has spanned nearly 30 years.

Born in Medina in 1958, Khashoggi was once close to the inner circles of the Saudi royal family, where he earned his reputation as a reformist by pushing the boundaries of critically questioning Saudi's regional and domestic policies.

The young Khashoggi studied journalism at Indiana University in the United States and began his career as a correspondent for the English language Saudi Gazette newspaper.

From 1987 until 1990, he reported for the London-based and Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat daily. He also spent eight years writing for the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper.

Khashoggi is best known for coverage of the events of Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait and the Middle East in the 1990s. He met and interviewed Osama bin Laden several times in the middle of the decade, before the latter went on to become the leader of the al-Qaeda group. 

In 1999, Khashoggi became the deputy editor for the Saudi-run newspaper Arab News, and remained in that position for four years. His next position as the editor-in-chief of the Al-Watan paper barely lasted two months before he was dismissed from the post without explanation in 2003. However, some hinted his 'editorial policy' was to blame.

The journalist then became a media adviser to Prince Turki bin Faisal, who was the former head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate and served as the Saudi ambassador to the US from 2005 until the end of 2006.

Khashoggi was reinstated as the editor of Al-Watan in 2007, but was fired again in 2010, for 'pushing the boundaries of debate within Saudi society' according to his personal website.

In the same year, Khashoggi was appointed as general manager of the Al Arab news channel, which was owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and operated out of Manama, Bahrain. The channel shut down barely one day after its launch in February 2015, with some speculating that the hosting of a Bahraini opposition member was part of the larger editorial issue with Bahrain.

Khashoggi also served as a political commentator, appearing on a number of Saudi and Arab channels.

Bd24live/Hk

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