"As we looked at the choices it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year's major stories from Russia to Riyadh, to Silicon Valley," Edward Felsenthal, Time editor in chief, said Tuesday morning on NBC's "Today" show. "And so we chose to highlight four individuals and one group who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths."
Khashoggi, 59, a Saudi journalist in self-imposed exile, was allegedly murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in October. Investigators believe his death stemmed from his critical reporting of the Saudi government.
"This is the first time we've ever chosen someone no longer alive as the Person of the Year. But it's also very rare that a person's influence grows so immensely in death," Felsenthal said. "His murder prompted a global reassessment of the Saudi Crown Prince and a really long overdue look at the devastating war in Yemen."
Others selected were:
-- The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, which was attacked by a gunman in June. Five staffers were killed.
"The Gazette, one of the oldest papers in America, did what it's done before the Revolution and got a paper out the next day and continues to do so with courage," Felsenthal said.
-- Maria Ressa, founder of the news website Rappler who has come under attack for her reporting of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
Felsenthal described Ressa as an "an extraordinary individual who has relentlessly pursued the current story in the Philippines."
"She has exposed Duterte's propaganda machine, the extrajudicial killings and ... she's been a legal target in the Philippines, currently under indictment in what many perceive as retribution for her reporting," he said.
-- Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters currently detained in Myanmar for their investigative reporting that uncovered the mass killing of Muslims.
"Two amazing reporters who exposed a mass killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and are in prison a year to the day tomorrow as a result of their reporting," Felsenthal said.