The Washington Post has honoured murdered journalists Marie Colvin and Jamal Khashoggi in a half-time Super Bowl advert thought to have cost millions of dollars given the game’s popularity in the US.
Running at a minute long and narrated by The Post star Tom Hanks, the advert paid tribute to three journalists: Colvin, Khashoggi and freelance Austin Tice, all of whom were killed or captured while reporting overseas.
Marie Colvin (pictured) died in a rocket attack in Syria in 2012. A US judge ruled last week that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime was liable for Colvin’s death and awarded the Sunday Times journalist’s family £302m in damages. A movie about her life arrives in cinemas this month.
Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October last year. Saudi Arabia initially denied reports of his murder, before claiming he had been killed at the hands of rogue agents, some of whom are facing trial. The Post columnist’s body has yet to be found.
Austin Tice is an American freelance war reporter who went missing in Syria seven years ago and has not been heard from since. He filed pictures and stories with the Post, among other news outlets.
In the advert aired last night, Hanks said: “When we go off to war, when we exercise our rights, when we soar to our greatest heights, when we mourn and pray, when our neighbours are at risk, when our nation is threatened, there is someone to gather the facts – to bring you the story, no matter the cost.
“Because knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free.”
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 4, 2019
Amazon boss and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos tweeted about the advert, saying: “Grateful for the journalists at the Washington Post and around the world who do the work, no matter the risk or dangers they face.”
US network CBS, which hosted last night’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and LA Rams, reportedly charged $5.25m (£4m) for a 30-second ad spot. The Post’s 60-second spot could have therefore cost $10m.
Picture: Paul Moorcraft