The Associated Press (AP) has been heavily criticised after referring to human rights lawyer Amal Clooney as "actor's wife" – in reference to her husband George Clooney. The famous lawyer was representing one of three Al-Jazeera English journalists on trial in Egypt when the global news service described sent out the Tweet.

Amal's successful career has seen her defend high-profile clients such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and Libya's Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of the former Libyan president, Muammar Qaddafi. She had been representing Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohammed Fahmy, who, along with his co-defendants, received a three-year jail term for operating without a press license and broadcasting material 'harmful to Egypt' on Saturday.

Twitter users roundly criticized AP's Tweet for its unintentional sexist nature. School of Information and Library Science professor Zeynep Tufekci said: "Fixed it for you AP. Let me know if you need an introduction to the 21st century." And Twitter user @whoozqueen Tweeted: "Seriously, Amal is just an accessory to her husband's life, not a successful lawyer in her own right? HUGE SEXIST FAIL, AP."

In a subsequent tweet, AP had removed the "actor's wife" reference to Amal and said instead: "Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney criticizes prison terms handed down to three Al-Jazeera English journalists."

Amal's presence at the trail of the Al-Jazeera trail has proved contentious, with some in the media saying that the focus has shifted away from journalists since she turned up to the Cairo court. According to Arabian Business website, much of the coverage in the media has been focused on Amal rather than the "unjust ruling" handed down to Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste and Fahmy.

A number of people took to Twitter to accuse the media of focusing Amal. Australian barrister and refugee advocate Jessie Taylor deplored the "media circus". She said: "The media circus around #AmalClooney is ridiculous. She is a LAWYER DOING HER JOB. Treating her like a pop starlet is demeaning. #ajretrial."