Washington Post to air Super Bowl ad showcasing reporters’ plight

The Washington Post will air a commercial during the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, highlighting the role of journalists and the dangers they can face.

The 60-second commercial, to be narrated by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, will briefly show several slain or missing journalists affiliated with the Post and other publications, including Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul last year.

Khashoggi – a Saudi writer, United States resident and Washington Post columnist – entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry.

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, Saudi Arabia eventually acknowledged that its officials were behind the gruesome murder. Saudi Arabia has yet to disclose the whereabouts of his body. 

What can investigation into Khashoggi’s murder achieve?

Other journalists in the Post commercial include freelance reporter Austin Tice, who has been missing in Syria for more than six years, and Marie Colvin, a US correspondent for the Sunday Times in London who was killed in 2012 by Syrian forces while reporting in Homs.

According to the Post, the commercial shows scenes from major news events from World War II through the present day, ending with the publication’s logo and its slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness”.

“The Super Bowl is a remarkable moment to recognise the courage and commitment of journalists around the world that is so essential to our democracy,” said Fred Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Washington Post.

“We decided to seize the opportunity to make this a milestone moment in our ongoing campaign.”

While the publication declined to reveal how much it is paying for the 60-second slot, a CNBC report said CBS is charging a record $5.25m for a 30-second slot.

More than 90 journalists and media workers died in targeted killings, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents last year, according to The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The figure was up from 82 killings recorded in 2017.

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