Amal Clooney faults ‘col­lec­tive shrug’ over slain jour­nal­ist

The Prince George Citizen - - A&E - Jill LAW­LESS

LON­DON — Hu­man rights lawyer Amal Clooney ac­cused world lead­ers Wed­nes­day of fail­ing to pro­tect jour­nal­ists and faulted their “a col­lec­tive shrug” over the slay­ing of Saudi writer Ja­mal Khashoggi.

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.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of th­ese mur­ders go un­pun­ished,” she said, adding that “world lead­ers re­sponded with lit­tle more than a col­lec­tive shrug” to Khashoggi’s killing by agents close to the Saudi crown prince.

The Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist was killed in­side Saudi Ara­bia’s Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul last year. Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions cul­tural body UNESCO, 99 me­dia work­ers were killed world­wide in 2018.

Clooney also took aim at U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. She said “the coun­try of James Madi­son” – one of Amer­ica’s found­ing fa­thers and a cham­pion of a free press – “has a leader to­day who vil­i­fies the me­dia.”

The Lon­don con­fer­ence where she spoke was ini­ti­ated by U.K. For­eign Sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt and Cana­dian For­eign Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land.

Politi­cians, of­fi­cials, ac­tivists and jour­nal­ists from more than 100 coun­tries were tak­ing part in the two-day meet­ing, but two Rus­sian news out­lets were banned.

The Bri­tish govern­ment said Rus­sian news agency Sput­nik and state-owned TV net­work RT were ex­cluded be­cause of their al­leged “ac­tive role in spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion.”

RT was cen­sured last year by Bri­tain’s broad­cast reg­u­la­tor for break­ing U.K. im­par­tial­ity rules in its cov­er­age of the poi­son­ing of a Rus­sian ex-spy in Eng­land.

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.”

Or­ga­niz­ers did not re­lease a full list of con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants but said del­e­ga­tions were ex­pected from na­tions with dire press free­dom records, such as Saudi Ara­bia and Turkey.

Bri­tain’s Hunt told the at­ten­dees Wed­nes­day “me­dia free­dom is not a Western value but a uni­ver­sal value.”

He said re­pres­sion of the press and cor­rup­tion go hand in hand, and “at its best, a free me­dia both pro­tects so­ci­ety from the abuse of power and helps re­lease the full po­ten­tial of a na­tion.”

“The strong­est safe­guard against the dark side of power is ac­count­abil­ity and scru­tiny,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.