Amal Clooney to receive press freedom award as lawyer of embattled journalists

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2020 05:40 PM

In an op-ed piece published on the Washington Post on Friday, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said the way Ressa’s case is handled will be “a signal of what lies ahead.” Tolga Akmen, AFP/file

MANILA — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) announced it would award its prestigious Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award to lawyer and human rights advocate Amal Clooney after representing embattled journalists around the world.

The award, given by CPJ’s board of directors, recognizes the recipient’s “extraordinary and sustained commitment to press freedom.”

“She promotes freedom of speech and journalism through the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative, which monitors the trials of journalists worldwide and provides free legal representation for those in need,” a press release by the New York-based watchdog group read. 

“Amal Clooney has been a committed advocate for the rights of journalists calling on world leaders to stand up for the press. She has served as counsel for several journalists under threat.”

American actress Meryl Streep will present the award on November 19 and will be broadcast online at www.ipfa2020.org, the group announced earlier this week. 

The ceremony will be held virtually, and will feature media luminaries such as CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour, among others. 

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, a Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Awardee in 2018, will interview Clooney as part of the ceremony, the CPJ said. 

Clooney in 2019 worked with a team of international lawyers as counsel to Ressa, who faced cyberlibel charges. 

She was also part of the legal team representing Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo of Reuters, who were imprisoned in Myanmar for 17 months. 

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The international human rights lawyer in September resigned her post as a UK envoy for media freedom to protest the UK government's "lamentable" decision to breach its EU divorce treaty.

She had also urged the Philippine government to protect the free press and honor its international commitments on human rights.

“If you want to have a functioning democracy, protect the press. To protect the press, don't imprison the journalists for their work,” she said during an online forum. 

Until recently, the Philippines was considered by many "to have the freest press in Asia," she added.