International human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, has been appointed as the UK foreign secretary’s special envoy on media freedom. The position will be responsible for defending the atrocities against journalists. She will also co-chair a high-level panel of legal experts on the heated issue. Clooney and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will draw up proposals to counter laws that create an obstacle for the reporters. Her job would be helping to lead and act on the British-Canadian push to defend journalists from attacks and restrictions around the world, the Foreign Office has announced, the BBC reported.

“Those with a pen in their hand should not feel a noose around their neck,” the British-Lebanese barrister told in an event on the issue at a G7 meeting of foreign ministers in France on Friday, news.com.au reported.

It had never been more dangerous to report the news. -Clooney

“According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, in the last five years, we’ve seen the highest number of journalists imprisoned since their records began over three decades ago,” she added.

British-Lebanese barrister Clooney, further said, “Through my legal work defending journalists I have seen first hand the ways in which reporters are targeted and imprisoned in an effort to silence them and prevent a free media.”

READ: Rana Ayyub One Of The Most Urgent Global Press Freedom Cases

Key Notes:

  • Just last year Clooney, who is known to take up high-profile human rights cases, joined the legal team defending two Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar and sentenced to seven years in prison.
  • The journalist safety campaign will work to “counter draconian laws that hinder journalists from going about their work,” the FCO said.
  • More than 60 journalists were killed in 2018, according to Reporters Without Borders.
  • Hunt named Clooney as his special envoy on media freedom, to defend journalists at their jobs.
  • In 2015, Clooney was part of the legal team working towards the release of two Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt.
  • She represented a Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad who survived an ISIS massacre.

Only one in 10 countries enjoyed a free press. -Clooney

“When journalists are not able to question those in authority, hold them to account, freely and with impunity, then you start a slippery slope to the closed societies that none of us want to see growing in influence,” Hunt said.

“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,” he argued.

“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.”

He added, “She will use her expertise to chair a panel comprising the world’s best legal minds to develop and promote legal mechanisms to prevent and reverse media abuses.”

Feature Image Credit: The Independent

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