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By Tim Stelloh

"The Guardians."

That's what Time magazine is calling the journalists behind 2018's "Person of the Year," which was revealed exclusively Tuesday morning on "Today."

With a record number of reporters behind bars around the planet — the Committee to Protect Journalists documented 262 cases in 2017 — an avalanche of misinformation on social media and government officials from the United States to the Philippines dismissing critical, real reporting as "fake news," Time is spotlighting a handful of journalists who have one thing in common: They were targeted for their work.

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For them, pursuing the truth has meant prison and harassment. In some cases, it has meant death.

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on May 2, 2012.Ali Haider / EPA-EFE file

The Washington Post columnist and United States resident penned columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — and was brutally killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in October. The CIA has concluded with “high confidence” that bin Salman ordered his murder, although President Donald Trump has seemingly dismissed that assessment, saying: "It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn't!"

The Capital Gazette

Capital Gazette victims clockwise from top left: John McNamera, Rebecca Smith, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and Wendi Winters.Baltimore Sun Media Group; via Facebook

Four journalists and a sales associate were gunned down in a mass shooting at Maryland's state capital newspaper in June.

Authorities said the assailant — who had sued the newspaper and lost after it reported on his guilty plea in a criminal harassment case — targeted the paper in a "coordinated attack."

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo

Detained Reuters journalist Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo arrive at Insein court in Yangon, Myanmar.Ann Wang / Reuters

A judge in Myanmar sentenced the pair of Reuters journalists to seven years in prison in September. Their crime? Breaking a colonial-era state secrets law while reporting on the military's mass killing of Rohingya Muslims.

Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa, CEO and executive editor of Rappler, attends a court hearing in Pasig City, Philippines, on Dec. 7, 2018.Francis R. Malasig / EPA

The former CNN bureau chief started the online news site "Rappler" in 2012 and has reported critically on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, that coverage earned the site a "campaign of legal harassment" from Duterte's Department of Justice.

CORRECTION (Dec. 11, 2018, 11:35 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated when the Capital Gazette mass shooting took place. It was in June, not July.