Monday, December 19, 2005

Time Magazine names 'Persons of the Year'

U.S. magazine Time has named its 'Persons of the Year' for 2005, with Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, and U2 frontman Bono, receiving the top honours. The three were selected for their work in tackling malaria in Africa, HIV and Aids, and poverty. These awards also named former U.S. Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton as 'Partners of the Year' in recognition of their joint work in the aftermaths of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in the U.S.A. Time magazine has been selecting a person of the year since 1927 with the aim of picking 'the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or worse.' This selection criteria, based on newsworthiness rather than just plain worthiness, has led to controversy in the past as figures such as Adolf Hitler (1938) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) were given the title. Last year the Time Person of the Year 'award' went to U.S. President George W. Bush. This idiosyncratic selection criteria does have the advantage of making the Time magazine honours unique, but it also creates great confusion as to the nature of the 'honour' that winners receive.