Amal Clooney named UK’s special envoy on media freedom

The Foreign Office noted that 2018 was the deadliest year for journalists, with 99 killed, 348 detained and 60 taken hostage by non-state groups, adding that the panel would support countries to repeal outdated laws and strengthen mechanisms to protect journalists.
Amal Clooney’s leading work on human rights means she is ideally placed to ensure this campaign has real impact for journalists.(REUTERS PHOTO)
Amal Clooney’s leading work on human rights means she is ideally placed to ensure this campaign has real impact for journalists.(REUTERS PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 05, 2019 05:20 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, London | ByPrasun Sonwalkar

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Friday appointed prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney as a ‘special envoy on media freedom’, who will co-chair a panel of legal experts to counter draconian laws in various countries that hinder journalists from going about their work.

The Foreign Office noted that 2018 was the deadliest year for journalists, with 99 killed, 348 detained and 60 taken hostage by non-state groups, adding that the panel would support countries to repeal outdated laws and strengthen mechanisms to protect journalists.

Hunt said, “Violence against journalists has reached alarming levels globally and we cannot turn a blind eye. The media has a crucial role to play in holding the powerful to account. There is no escaping the fact that draconian and outdated laws around the world are being used to restrict the ability of the media to report the truth.”

“Amal Clooney’s leading work on human rights means she is ideally placed to ensure this campaign has real impact for journalists and the free societies who depend on their work.”

The panel is expected to offer advice to governments who want to strengthen legal mechanisms to improve media freedom; supporting the repeal of outdated and draconian laws; encourage governments to help ensure existing laws and international obligations are enforced and promote best practices and model legislation to protect a vibrant free press.

Clooney added: “Through my legal work defending journalists I have seen first-hand the ways in which reporters are being targeted and imprisoned in an effort to silence them and prevent a free media.”

“I welcome the UK Government’s focus on this issue at a time when journalists are being killed and imprisoned at record levels all over the world and I look forward to working on new legal initiatives that can help to ensure a more effective international response.”

Hunt’s announcement comes ahead of the International Conference on Media Freedom to be held in the UK on July 10-11, co-hosted with the Canadian government. Clooney and legal experts on the panel will work on a pro-bono basis, officials said.

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Monday, December 06, 2021