The accolade, announced Tuesday on NBC’s Today show, recognizes an individual or group of people who “most influenced the news and the world” during the past year.
“Like all human gifts, courage comes to us at varying levels and at varying moments,” TIME’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote in an essay about the selection. “This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment: Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md.”
“They are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world — as of Dec. 10, at least 52 journalists have been murdered in 2018 — who risk all to tell the story of our time,” Felsenthal wrote.
Khashoggi, a well-known critic of Saudi Arabia and columnist for the Washington Post, was killed shortly after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October to obtain marriage documents. His death, allegedly orchestrated by the highest levels of the Saudi government, caused an international outcry.