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UK: Trump making journalists 'more vulnerable to abuse' says Amal Clooney at media freedom event04:20

UK: Trump making journalists 'more vulnerable to abuse' says Amal Clooney at media freedom event

United Kingdom, London
July 10, 2019 at 20:27 GMT -00:00 · Published

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney called out Donald Trump and criticised Western countries for their record on press freedom during the opening session of the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London on Wednesday.

"The country of James Madison has a leader who vilifies the media, making honest journalists all over the world more vulnerable to abuse," she said.

Though several speakers like UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Clooney herself opened their speeches with examples of murdered journalists in emerging countries, Clooney said these problems "exist even in countries that otherwise have a strong tradition of free speech."

"Journalists have been murdered because they are journalists even in Europe, in places like Malta and Slovakia. Australia's parliament just launched an inquiry into press freedom just after police raided Sydney headquarters of the ABC news channel, alleging that classified material was used on a report on killings by Australian forces in Afghanistan," she said. "The indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has alarmed journalists at newspapers around the world."

Clooney also criticised world leaders for responding to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi "with little more than a collective shrug."

Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas also criticised "top presidents" for dismissing investigative journalism as fake news, saying it could be misinterpreted by others as an invitation to assassinate journalists.

Asked whether he would condemn Trump's rhetoric regarding the media, Jeremy Hunt said, "I wouldn't use the language president Trump used and I wouldn't agree with it."

The Global Conference for Media Freedom, the first of its kind, is co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Canada, with delegations "from over 100 countries including 60 ministers and more than 1.5 thousand journalists, academics and campaigners" according to Hunt.

Russia's RT and Sputnik news agencies were not allowed to attend the conference "because of their active role in spreading disinformation," according to a UK Foreign Office statement.

Hunt announced several measures including the creation of a Global Media Defence Fund administered by UNESCO, and an international taskforce to help governments deliver on their commitments on press freedom.

"Media freedom is not a Western value but a universal value," he said.

UK: Trump making journalists 'more vulnerable to abuse' says Amal Clooney at media freedom event04:20
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Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney called out Donald Trump and criticised Western countries for their record on press freedom during the opening session of the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London on Wednesday.

"The country of James Madison has a leader who vilifies the media, making honest journalists all over the world more vulnerable to abuse," she said.

Though several speakers like UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Clooney herself opened their speeches with examples of murdered journalists in emerging countries, Clooney said these problems "exist even in countries that otherwise have a strong tradition of free speech."

"Journalists have been murdered because they are journalists even in Europe, in places like Malta and Slovakia. Australia's parliament just launched an inquiry into press freedom just after police raided Sydney headquarters of the ABC news channel, alleging that classified material was used on a report on killings by Australian forces in Afghanistan," she said. "The indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has alarmed journalists at newspapers around the world."

Clooney also criticised world leaders for responding to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi "with little more than a collective shrug."

Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas also criticised "top presidents" for dismissing investigative journalism as fake news, saying it could be misinterpreted by others as an invitation to assassinate journalists.

Asked whether he would condemn Trump's rhetoric regarding the media, Jeremy Hunt said, "I wouldn't use the language president Trump used and I wouldn't agree with it."

The Global Conference for Media Freedom, the first of its kind, is co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Canada, with delegations "from over 100 countries including 60 ministers and more than 1.5 thousand journalists, academics and campaigners" according to Hunt.

Russia's RT and Sputnik news agencies were not allowed to attend the conference "because of their active role in spreading disinformation," according to a UK Foreign Office statement.

Hunt announced several measures including the creation of a Global Media Defence Fund administered by UNESCO, and an international taskforce to help governments deliver on their commitments on press freedom.

"Media freedom is not a Western value but a universal value," he said.

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