The Committee to Protect Journalists honored human rights lawyer Amal Clooney with the 2020 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award, acknowledging her devotion to the cause of international press freedom.
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Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep introduced Clooney for the virtual ceremony, calling the lawyer “a woman who exemplifies the tireless struggle for press freedom and justice.” Clooney has spent much of her career advocating for freedom of the press, from serving as international counsel for Reuters and journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to representing Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova who was threatened with a prison sentence.
During Clooney’s acceptance speech, she thanked Streep for the kind introduction and even made a joke about their mutual connection through her husband, George Clooney. “Meryl, thank you so much for your kind words introducing me. You are an inspiration, as a woman, as an artist, as a press freedom advocate,” she said. “I know I can’t ever hope to win the number of awards that you’ve won, but it does occur to me that we have something special in common, which is that we’ve both been married to my husband. And honestly, the fact that you did it as Mr. and Mrs. Fantastic Fox just makes that so much less awkward.”
She went on to encourage the sustained protection of press freedom across the globe. “What we see happening in the world should remind us that rights must not only be secured, but jealously guarded,” she said. “Democracy must constantly be defended and the press vigilantly protected. So I’d like to accept this honor on behalf of all the lawyers who work to protect journalists and others being persecuted around the world. And I’d like to dedicate it to all those who fought for the rights that we enjoy today, because progress is not inevitable.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.