Amal Clooney has a new job that will allow her to further aid global efforts to promote the freedom and safety of journalists.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has appointed the 41-year-old international human rights lawyer and wife of actor George Clooney his special envoy on media freedom amid the United Kingdom's campaign to defend free press around the world. He and Amal plan to "establish a panel of legal experts to counter draconian laws that hinder journalists from going about their work," according to a press statement.
"I am honored to have been appointed as the Foreign Secretary's Special Envoy on Media Freedom and to have been invited to chair the High Level Panel of Legal Experts," Amal said. "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."
The global campaign on media freedom "aims to shine a spotlight on media abuses and reverse the trend of violence against journalists," the statement said.
Amal and the panel of legal experts will work on a pro-bono basis, it added.
Amal has campaigned to free jailed journalists abroad. She is a member of the legal team representing Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were sentenced to seven years in prison in Myanmar after being arrested while working on a story about a massacre of ten Rohingya men and boys in a village in the country.
"Violence against journalists has reached alarming levels globally and we cannot turn a blind eye," Hunt said in the statement. "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 There is no escaping the fact that draconian and outdated laws around the world are being used to restrict the ability of the media to report the truth.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. 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."
News of Amal's new job comes comes ahead of the International Conference on Media Freedom, set to be held in the UK on July 10 and 11, and co-hosted by the Canadian government.