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Lesson Plans

Jamal Khashoggi's legacy and freedom of the press

October 22, 2018

Full Lesson



Directions: Read the summary with your students, watch the video (if helpful, follow along with the transcript) and then answer the discussion questions.


Summary: On Oct. 2, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist and permanent resident of the United States, visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to pick up documents for his upcoming wedding. While inside, Khashoggi was brutally murdered by Saudi agents, according to Turkish officials. Khashoggi had moved to the U.S. in 2017, and worked for the Washington Post. He was a well-known critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) harsh treatment of journalists and the regime’s role in Yemen’s civil war. For several days, President Donald Trump urged the public not to pass judgment on Saudi Arabia, a long-time ally of the U.S., until the facts were known. Trump’s reaction led to criticism from abroad and inside the U.S., since America has long been viewed as a key protector of human rights and freedom of the press. On Oct. 20, Saudi state television confirmed Khashoggi’s death and announced 18 Saudi officials had been detained in connection with the incident. Saudi’s MBS denies he ordered or knew anything about the killing.




1. Essential question: How should the U.S. respond to governments who jail or kill journalists?


2. What do you know about freedom of the press in the U.S.? How about in other countries? What does the U.S. Constitution say about freedom of the press?


3. Do you think President Trump’s response to Khashoggi’s murder has been sufficient? Explain.


4. The government of Saudi Arabia is conducting their own investigation into Khashoggi’s murder. What do they need to do to ensure that their investigation is fair? 


5. Should the U.S. sanction Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s murder even if it means losing hundreds of billions of dollars Saudi was planning to spend on weapons sales to the U.S.? Explain your response.


PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs’ Thomas Maxwell contributed to today’s Daily News Story.


Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.