Special Envoy on Media Freedom

Amal Clooney

Biography

Amal Clooney was appointed as the UK’s Special Envoy for Media Freedom in 2019. In this role she has helped to convene, at the request of the UK and Canadian governments, a panel of legal experts that will issue recommendations on legal and policy initiatives that states can adopt to improve media freedom. Ms Clooney currently serves as Deputy Chair of the panel.

Ms Clooney is a barrister who specializes in international law and human rights. She represents clients before international courts including the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Alongside court work, she provides advice to governments and individuals on legal issues in her areas of expertise. Ms Clooney is ranked in the leading legal directories Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 as one of the top lawyers in the UK in the fields of international human rights and international criminal law.

Ms Clooney served as a Senior Adviser to Kofi Annan when he was the UN’s Envoy on Syria and as Counsel to the UN Inquiry on the use of armed drones. She was appointed to the UK Attorney-General’s expert panel to advise and represent the UK government in cases involving public international law. Ms Clooney was also appointed to the UK government’s expert panel for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative.

Ms Clooney has represented journalists and other political prisoners in domestic and international courts around the world. She has served as counsel for journalists and media workers including:

  • Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative reporter imprisoned in Azerbaijan for reporting on corruption
  • Mohamed Fahmy, when he was Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Cairo, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters journalists
  • Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were released from imprisonment in Myanmar following their reporting on crimes committed against Rohingyas

Ms Clooney represents the award-winning journalist Maria Ressa, editor of one of leading online news organisations in the Philippines. She also represents Iraqi women from the Yazidi community who are seeking accountability for genocide and other international crimes perpetrated by Daesh in cases around the world, and before the United Nations.

As a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School, Ms Clooney co-teaches the Human Rights course. She is the co-author of a forthcoming book entitled ‘The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law’ to be published by Oxford University Press in 2020. In 2016 she co-founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice to advance justice in courtrooms, classrooms and communities around the world.

Special Envoy on Media Freedom

The Foreign Secretary’s Special Envoy on Media Freedom supports the work of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom in mobilising a global spotlight on media freedom and increasing the costs to governments and others who would seek to suppress it. The Special Envoy on Media Freedom works with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to ensure the campaign has long-term impact and is sustained by the governments and other partners who agree to contribute to it.

Announcements

  1. Introducing the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on media freedom: Amal Clooney's speech
  2. Addressing threats to media freedom: Amal Clooney's speech