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Amal Clooney’s fight for injustice is being recognized.
The 42-year-old human rights lawyer and wife of George Clooney was presented with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award Thursday during the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2020 International Press Freedom Awards.
Actress Meryl Streep, who described journalists as “essential workers,” presented Clooney with the award virtually during the broadcast.
“(Clooney) exemplifies the tireless struggle for press freedom and justice,” Streep said. “She’s not only something every journalist needs, which is a great lawyer, but she’s also a defender of the international laws that make free expression possible.”
Clooney graciously accepted the award, joking that although she may never earn the number of accolades Streep has, they both have “been married to my husband.” (Streep played opposite George Clooney in 2009’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”)
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Amal Clooney received the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award Thursday from the Committee to Protect Journalists. (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN, AFP via Getty Images)
Clooney said journalism is personal to her because it runs “in the family.” Both her mother and her father-in-law were journalists.
“It’s something close to both of our hearts,” she said. “It means that it’s difficult to get a word in edgewise at our family dinner tables.”
Clooney, who has provided counsel to several journalists under threat while defending human rights, said “journalism is the lifeblood of democracy.”
“Those who seek to oppress and silence others will always be united and determined to achieve their aim,” Clooney said. “Democracy must constantly be defended and the press vigilantly protected.”
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The CPJ’s 2020 International Press Freedom Awards ceremony was hosted by NBC News anchor Lester Holt. He opened the show highlighting the importance of protecting journalists more now than ever.
“For nearly 40 years, (CPJ) has stood shoulder to shoulder with reporters around the globe who braved violence and intimidation just for bringing us the news,” he said. “Rarely in our lifetimes has the need for accurate and timely information been greater.”
Other awardees included Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam (arrested while covering protests in 2018); Iranian reporter Mohammad Mosaed (sentenced to over four years behind bars and banned from practicing journalism); Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva (convicted of “justifying terrorism” for radio show comments); and Nigerian publisher Dapo Olorunyomi (CEO and publisher of Nigeria’s Premium Times).
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