Amal Clooney warns Australia over press freedom, comparing it to North Korea.

Celebrity lawyer Amal Clooney has warned Australia over press freedom in the wake of the AFP raids on a journalist and the ABC - even comparing the country to North Korea.
Clooney, the British government's envoy on media freedom, was speaking at a conference on press freedom.

When asked about the raids, which saw a Newscorp journalist's home searched and the Sydney ABC offices raided, Clooney, told the Sydney Morning Herald: 'What happens in a country like Australia, or the UK or the US will be looked at by every other leader in the world and potentially used as an excuse to clamp down even further on journalists.
'All governments say they believe in a free press – the right is even enshrined in North Korea's constitution… what matters is enforcement of this right.'
Mrs Clooney also accused world leaders of failing to protect journalists and responding with 'a collective shrug' over the slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Defend Media Freedom conference.

Clooney, said:  '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.

The London conference where Clooney spoke was called by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland with the aim of improving protection for journalists around the world.
Clooney also took aim at Trump, saying '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.'
Politicians, officials, activists and journalists from more than 100 countries attended 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.'

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne condemned the murder of Khashoggi and expressed deep concern at the 'open abuse' of international diplomatic conventions to commit and conceal the crime at the event.
However Senator Payne stopped short of committing Australia to any course of diplomatic action to hold Saudi Arabia to account for the journalist's death, in her statement at an international press freedom conference in London.
Senator Payne met the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard, who authored a report on Mr Khashoggi's killing, on the sidelines of the Global Conference for Media Freedom on Wednesday

The foreign minister made a strong statement in support of Dr Callamard and the report, which Saudi Arabia rejected when it was released in June
'Australia deplores the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Australia is also deeply concerned at the open abuse of the Vienna Conventions caused by the commission and concealment of this crime,' Senator Payne told the conference.
-           With AP, AAP
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019

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