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Post by annemarie on Thu 13 Feb 2020 - 16:05

Use threat of sanctions to protect journalists, Clooney report urges
Panel led by Amal Clooney wants targeted action against those who deny free expression

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
Thu 13 Feb 2020 08.19 ESTFirst published on Thu 13 Feb 2020 07.45 EST


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 Barrister Amal Clooney was appointed special envoy on media freedom by the former foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP
Officials and prosecutors who arbitrarily detain journalists or impose blanket restrictions on free expression should be subject to a new regime of targeted international sanctions, according to a panel report drafted by the barrister Amal Clooney.
The proposal, coming in the midst of an unprecedented era of attacks on the rights of journalists, represents a blueprint for a radical extension of potential sanctions to protect reporters in countries such as Turkey, Iran or Saudi Arabia.

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At present journalists are only protected through human rights sanctions in a small number of countries, notably the US and Canada. The UK is due to bring into force its own post-Brexit sanctions regime this spring. The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has already met Clooney to discuss her proposals, and officials have suggested the UK will prioritise 30 listed countries as “a cause for concern” in the foreign office annual human rights report.
Clooney was appointed by the previous foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as his special envoy on media freedom at a time when he decided that a campaign for a free press worldwide should become a central part of the UK’s soft power projection.
Her report, prepared with the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, documents the extent to which repressive regimes are resorting to extra-judicial killings, torture, abductions, intimidation and arrests in what amounts to a world-wide assault on free expression. In 2019 more than 250 journalists around the world were in prison because of their work, including an increasing number accused of spreading false news.
Clooney’s panel recommends targeted sanctions on officials who restrict free expression, including freezing the individual’s assets or withholding travel visas. The sanctions could be imposed unilaterally by governments, or by consortia of states. Unjust imprisonment of reporters would meet the threshold for sanctions, the report says, and the penalties could be imposed not just on the officials charging the journalist, but also prosecutors and judges deemed to be complicit in the sentencing.
“A consistent use of targeted sanctions when journalists are killed and arbitrarily imprisoned would help to raise international awareness and shift the default from impunity to accountability,” the report says. “There is an important opportunity for states to lead with a new paradigm that when the media is attacked, targeted sanctions will be a counterattack.”

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The report denies that the proposals will “open the floodgates” to the imposition of too many sanctions covering any violation of the rights to liberty or a fair trial. It points out the Magnitsky laws, which authorise the US government to sanction those who it sees as human rights offenders, make clear there has to be a serious abuse of human rights, including a prolonged detention without charge, for sanctions to be contemplated. An independent national committee of senior jurists might also be appointed to advise governments of repressive acts against reporters that might warrant sanctions.
Clooney’s report says that at present only the US, Canada and the UK in outline have adopted sanctions regimes as a weapon to protect human rights.
Canada and the UK, which set up the panel that Clooney leads, staged a joint conference in London last summer on media freedom at which more than 30 states signed a global pledge on media freedom. Clooney proposes these 30 states could form an opening group declaring support for a sanctions regime.
The report admits it has not addressed the issue of whether sanctions could be imposed on a repressive government as a whole. Some of the most serious restrictions on media freedom come through state-censorship of newspapers and social media as opposed to harassment of individual reporters.
“Targeted sanctions are among the most effective tools in a government’s arsenal to enforce human rights obligations, including the obligation to respect free speech and protect the media,” Clooney said on Thursday. “It is the hope of the panel that governments will look to the recommendations in this report to curb human rights abuses and do more to protect journalists around the world.”

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Post by heartlove on Thu 13 Feb 2020 - 16:42

I'm don't know how sanctions will help, given the 1% holding the majority of wealth across the globe, own the media.

I'm sure Amal's parents are proud of her efforts.

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Post by party animal - not! on Thu 13 Feb 2020 - 19:41

I was at this launch and high level meeting run by the International Bar Association and the Human Rights Institute today 

Incredible individuals including the President of the Supreme Court on the panel and several  threatened international journalists who had had to post bail to appear and were in the audience - and a 77 page report written by Amal who is Deputy Chairman.


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Post by heartlove on Thu 13 Feb 2020 - 19:51

I'm sure their efforts are with good intentions.  Definitely something for Amal Clooney's children to be proud of.

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Post by party animal - not! on Thu 13 Feb 2020 - 20:26

...and more and more necessary, given attacks by the increasing number of authoritarians in power across the world i e Duterte and Trump who attack the media and imprison journalists and their stringers for writing the truth

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Post by heartlove on Thu 13 Feb 2020 - 20:55

I felt the same about Apple when they would not unlock  phones connected to the murderers in San Bernardino.

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Post by party animal - not! on Fri 14 Feb 2020 - 11:01

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Post by annemarie on Fri 14 Feb 2020 - 11:23

FBI–Apple encryption dispute
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An iPhone 5C, the model used by one of the perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino attack
[size][ltr]
The FBI–Apple encryption dispute concerns whether and to what extent courts in the United States can compel manufacturers to assist in unlocking cell phones whose data are cryptographically protected.[1] There is much debate over public access to strong encryption.[2]
In 2015 and 2016, Apple Inc. received and objected to or challenged at least 11 orders issued by United States district courts under the All Writs Act of 1789. Most of these seek to compel Apple "to use its existing capabilities to extract data like contacts, photos and calls from locked iPhones running on operating systems iOS 7 and older" in order to assist in criminal investigations and prosecutions. A few requests, however, involve phones with more extensive security protections, which Apple has no current ability to break. These orders would compel Apple to write new software that would let the government bypass these devices' security and unlock the phones.[3]
The most well-known instance of the latter category was a February 2016 court case in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted Apple to create and electronically sign new software that would enable the FBI to unlock a work-issued iPhone 5C it recovered from one of the shooters who, in a December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, killed 14 people and injured 22. The two attackers later died in a shootout with police, having first destroyed their personal phones. The work phone was recovered intact but was locked with a four-digit password and was set to eliminate all its data after ten failed password attempts. Apple declined to create the software, and a hearing was scheduled for March 22. However, a day before the hearing was supposed to happen, the government obtained a delay, saying they had found a third party able to assist in unlocking the iPhone and, on March 28, it announced that the FBI had unlocked the iPhone and withdrew its request. In March 2018, the Los Angeles Times later reported "the FBI eventually found that Farook's phone had information only about work and revealed nothing about the plot."[4]
In another case in Brooklyn, a magistrate judge ruled that the All Writs Act could not be used to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone. The government appealed the ruling, but then dropped the case on April 22 after it was given the correct passcode.

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Post by heartlove on Fri 14 Feb 2020 - 17:19

A blessing from Heaven.  Truth will always find a way to win.

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Post by party animal - not! on Sun 16 Feb 2020 - 18:29

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