After an unusually deadly year for journalists at U.S. news outlets... ...and regular attacks from the president, who's called reporters 'the enemy of the people'… Press freedom will be celebrated at Times Square's annual New Year's Eve party.
And the guests of honor will be reporters, who will initiate the ceremonial ball drop just before midnight.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE TIMES SQUARE ALLIANCE, TIM TOMPKINS, SAYING: "... Times Square is named after a newspaper.
This is a time to say the importance of freedom of the press, the importance of journalism, let's celebrate that for new years', and let's have 2019 be a year when we're respecting journalism and the free press." Organizers say two events in particular stood out when determining whom to honor this year: The killing of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey AND the deadly mass shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said he was contacted by organizers weeks before Time magazine published their annual 'Person of the Year' issue to several journalists who have faced attacks and hostility.
Among those journalists were Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar for investigating how the country's security forces killed members of the country's Muslim Rohingya minority.
Members of the media - along with Joel Simon - will be joined by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when the famous ball drops.