Amal Clooney faults ‘collective shrug’ over slain journalist

11 Juillet, 2019, 04:02 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Hatice Cengiz

Clooney, the British government's envoy on media freedom, said at a conference on press freedom that "journalists are under attack like never before", not just while covering wars but for exposing crime and corruption.

Speaking alongside the Foreign Secretary, Mrs Clooney told the conference that more than 100 people working in the media had been killed in the past 18 months and that the perpetrators responsible for the "vast majority" of those murdered had gone unpunished.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday said it was concerned that the British government had denied accreditation to Russian journalists who wanted to attend the global conference on media freedom taking place in London.

The kingdom has come under heightened global criticism over its human rights record after Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by Saudi operatives inside its Istanbul consulate last October.

While the United Nations cited the fact that 99 media workers were killed across the globe previous year, Clooney's comment drew attention to growing anti-media sentiment in many democratic countries.

The fund, which will be administered by UNESCO, will be used to support, train and provide legal help for journalists around the world.

The British government said Russian news agency Sputnik and state-owned TV network RT were excluded due to their alleged "active role in spreading disinformation".

Russian state-owned RT was censured past year by Britain's broadcast regulator for breaking United Kingdom impartiality rules in its coverage of the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in England.

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RT, formerly known as Russia Today, said "it takes a particular brand of hypocrisy to advocate for freedom of press while banning inconvenient voices and slandering alternative media".

She says foreign ministers such as Britain's Jeremy Hunt and Canada's Chrystia Freeland need to pay more than "lip service" to media freedom.

Organizers have not released a list of participants, but say delegations are expected from nations with dire records on press freedom such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

He argued that "the strongest safeguard against the dark side of power is accountability and scrutiny - and few institutions fulfil that role more effectively than a free media".

However, Hunt conceded that his own country itself must "do better", after being ranked 33rd in the 2019 world press freedom index by campaign group Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He and singled out China, which routinely censors the internet, as an example of a country where "the situation continues to deteriorate".

Human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney says U.S. President Donald Trump's vilification of the media makes journalists more vulnerable to abuse around the world.

The UK and Canada will use the Global Conference for Media Freedom to lobby countries to contribute to the fund, and sign a pledge committing them to leverage diplomatic networks and take action together on abuses against the media.

Hunt, who is running against former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to be the UK's next prime minister, declined to outright condemn Trump, saying instead he "wouldn't use the language President Trump used and I wouldn't agree with it".

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