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03 October 2019

Dominic Raab Pledges To Defend Journalists

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has pledged that the UK will be at the forefront of the defence of journalists across the globe as he announced a new law to exclude human rights abusers from entering the UK at the Conservative Party conference this week.

Citing the example of the UK’s work to ensure the release of the two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar,  Mr Raab said the UK would “relish not shrink from” its duty to take “a leading role in bringing the perpetrators of the worst injustices to account.”

Speaking at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, Mr Raab said: “The world is different today. But, we must never forget the lessons of history. And we must keep the flame of freedom alive in the darkest corners of the bleakest jails.

“For those struggling for the basic liberties we take for granted… The right you jealously guard – here, this week – to debate, to have your say, to hold your politicians to account.

He added: “We will relish not shrink from our duty to take a leading role in bringing the perpetrators of the worst injustices to account.

“Whether it’s ensuring the release of the two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar for reporting on the plight of the Rohingya refugees or bringing war criminals to trial from Yugoslavia to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“And when we leave the EU, we’ll be able to do even more. So, conference, I can tell you today that we will bring into force a UK Magnitsky law, to place visa bans and asset freezes on those individuals deemed responsible for serious human rights abuses, including torture.”

Mr Raab cited the UK’s media freedom conference with Canada as an example of the UK’s work with co0untries across the globe.

The UK hosted a meeting of representatives of Governments, international organisations, civil society and the media in the margins of the General Assembly at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The meeting marked the formal launch of the media freedom coalition, with 32 Governments announcing that they will be members. They have each signed the global pledge on media freedom that the UK and Canada opened for signature at the conference.

The News Media Association has been in discussions with the Foreign Office since the campaign’s inception and met with officials today to discuss next steps.