Created by: Fatima Al Sayegh, Alexander Wagner, and Dana Al Sayfi
Supervised by: Dr. Fuad Abdulaziz Mohamed, Qatar University
Interview with Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Moawad
I heard about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in Aljazeera newsroom.
At that moment I was not in Istanbul, the location of the crime.
There was a discussion going on in the the newsroom about how to handle this event.
When this happened, things were not clear.
In the beginning it was like the journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in the consulate after stepping into it.
No one knew at that time if he left the consulate or disappeared inside the consulate
Or he stepped out and disappeared.
The available information and the circumstances were not clear.
Something like this never happened before. And no one imagined it actually happened.
So, nothing was clear at the start, and we were trying to cover the event and collect any sort of information that can shed light on what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and where did he disappear.
I remember long hours with us waiting without any clues or pictures from the surveillance cameras outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that was made publicly available or to news outlets by Turkish authorities. So, nothing was clear.
After that, I moved quickly to Istanbul and I started covering the story.
At this point, information started to flow, and surveillance cameras actually proved that Jamal
Khashoggi walked into his country’s consulate in Istanbul and never left.
There are no pictures whatsoever that prove he left the consulate.
Later the Saudi consul in Istanbul appeared in front of the camera lenses opening cupboards in the consulate offices to show that Jamal Khashoggi wasn’t there, and to confirm that Jamal actually left the consulate after he got his documents from the consulate.
Later, when I was in Istanbul with Aljazeera’s team, I tried to collect information or evidence to tell the world what actually happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
Did he really disappear inside the consulate? What are the circumstances that accompanied his disappearance? Why did he disappear in the first place?
Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and his body was cut into pieces.
That was what the Saudi authorities said, and this was what they admitted, and this was what the Saudi authorities’ investigations confirmed.
There is list of people accused of this crime, and the list comprised high ranked Saudi officials who were directly involved in planning and killing and cutting into pieces Jamal
Khashoggi’s body inside the Saudi consulate in an attempt to hide the crime, that later did not work.
And I believe all is clear now. But what we are missing isn’t who killed or was part of this crime or who covered it or who gave the order.
I think what we are missing is justice.
There is always this western view about Arab media that it is part of government authorities.
Journalism power is called the fourth power in the west and It’s an authority above all other authorities that monitors the work of other authorities and speaks truth to power.
But this doesn’t exist in the Arab world.
Media is a reflection of what happens in the society.
The Arab society is not still in a stage of total freedom.
Media and journalism are part of the democratic system.
The journalist can never speak freely unless the country he works in, and the world and affairs he covers permits him to do so.
Arab media is still trying to change the Arab world’s moral fantasies so as to accept journalism and to accept its existence as an important part of the fabric of the society and to accept the main rule that the journalist should enjoy full freedom and talk justice and rightfulness to power.
We are not yet there.
Jamal Khashoggi used to write in the Washington Post, which is one of the most important newspapers in the US and the world.
There was this feeling in world media, as well as regional media which we, as Aljazeera, are part of, that journalism and journalists are under threat and they were dealt a severe blow.
I believe that our task as Arab journalists is to build pressure on rulers and authorities so they accept reality.
Interview with Al-Jazeera journalist Tamer Almisshal
With the beginning of the news about Jamal’s disappearance in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, it rapidly became breaking news in newscasts all over the world, due to the fact that Jamal Khashoggi was well-known.
So, the disappearance of a journalist inside the building of a consulate, in another country, generated many question marks, and got many journalists to move towards the gates of the consulate.
I was one of the first Aljazeera journalists’ crews that arrived at the consulate’s gate.
We started following the first thread to trace what was going on in the consulate.
At the time, there was nothing about what happened, what is Jamal Khashoggi’s fate.
The question was: where is Jamal?
This question was transformed later on to: where is Jamal’s body?
It wasn’t an easy task, because you are in the midst of an event that the world is interested in, a race to report breaking news.
Everybody is racing to get information.
We succeeded, in five months of investigation and of following several threads..
We started in October after just several days of Jamal’s disappearance, and were able to broadcast our investigative findings in March…
After almost five months of investigation and of connecting threads, we were able to broadcast exclusive truths and a scoop in our investigative journalistic program “THE HIDDEN IS GREATER” Where is the Body?
To be honest, there were many reservations, as well as lots of information, and conflicting accounts, and lots of stories and theories, because the event and its coverage were huge.
Nothing, despite the reservations, would stop us, because journalism is the pursuing of sources and reaching out to information.
And we persevered. The truth is that Aljazeera succeeded excelled in this.
We when we do journalistic work in a violation and homicide situation regarding a journalist, we defend the human being and ourselves in the first place.
The Arab and the Gulf media lost a journalist, holder of free ideas, free pen and he was a man with a vision.
Few months before he was assassinated, I interviewed Mr. Jamal Khashoggi while he was in America.
The interview was part of an investigative program titled “BETWEEN TWO EXTREMES”
The program was dealing with the ideological transformations in Saudi Arabia and its new period of changes.
In this interview I stood in front of a person with a sharp vision, a deep thinker.
He was close to a lot to the transformations in Saudi Arabia and the region.
A person who owns his pen and his ideas. And because of this he paid the highest price.
We got a scoop with witnesses and exclusive footage which was shown for the first time from the house of the Saudi consul in Istanbul.
This uncovered the story of the furnace that was built few months before the crime.
All the Turkish investigations reached the conclusion that this furnace was used to get rid of Jamal’s body.
Our investigation made an impact and solved a little of this case, at least regarding the question: Where is Jamal’s body?
May Jamal’s soul rest in peace, but I say, maybe what happened in this horrible crime and the coverage it generated all over the world, might stop all the violations against journalists.
Jamal Khashoggi described himself by saying that he is not against the authority.
He agrees with the authorities sometimes, as he disagrees with them.
He used to say: I’m a free person with a free pen. He was against the arrest of many thinkers, writers, religious people, public personas and authoritative persons.
This was a position of principle.
He used to say: if we want a positive transformation in Saudi Arabia, the real transformation is in the freedom of speech.