Journalists: International Protection

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:07 pm on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham 5:07 pm, 9th January 2019

I will make just one additional point. I too have seen at first hand that many people go overseas to report in areas of conflict, in places as far away as Syria and Yemen, but also in conflict zones where the British Government are doing great work on humanitarian support and conflict resolution.

As the Government take forth their strategy and policy this year, I urge the Minister to use our bilateral footprint across the world much more emphatically and robustly at a Government-to-Government level, while at the same time integrating our approach. We spend a great deal of UK taxpayer resource not only on humanitarian issues but on capacity building—supporting institutions, strengthening governance, working with NGOs and civil society organisations. We can support journalists, free speech and freedom of the press.

As we approach World Press Freedom Day in May this year, there is a fantastic opportunity, notwithstanding UN conventions and Geneva protocols, for the United Kingdom to lead the world—as we already do when it comes to aid, foreign policy and our humanitarian approach—to strengthen our profile internationally and to give voice to those who need support to safeguard international freedoms, as well as political and press freedoms. The UK Government could do that quite robustly.