Amal Clooney appointed UK envoy on media freedom

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has been appointed as Britain’s Special Envoy on Media Freedom.

Clooney said she was “honored” to have been appointed to the role by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, where she will also serve as a Co-Chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts.

That panel will “counter draconian laws that hinder journalists from going about their work,” and will support countries to “strengthen legal mechanisms to protect journalists,” a UK Foreign Office statement said Friday.

Those legal experts will be confirmed over the next months, it 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,” Clooney said.

“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,” she added.

2018 was a deadly year for journalists, with 99 killed, 348 detained and 60 taken hostage by non-state groups, according to the UK Foreign Office.

The announcement comes in advance of the International Conference on Media Freedom, where leaders around the world will convene in the UK in July to discuss plans on how to improve protections for journalists.