Clooney calls out Trump media vilification at press freedom gathering

UK, Canada launch push to protect media freedom

Speaking alongside the Foreign Secretary, Mrs Clooney told the conference that more than 100 people working in the media had been killed in the past 18 months and that the perpetrators responsible for the "vast majority" of those murdered had gone unpunished. According to the United Nations cultural body Unesco 99 media workers were killed previous year.

"World leaders responded with little more than a collective shrug", she said.

Ms Clooney also criticised world leaders' reactions to the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Istanbul previous year.

Mr Hunt also announced a new Global Media Defence Fund to "help fund legal advice for journalists and safety training for those venturing into conflict zones", with Britain providing £3 million over the next five years.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made the announcement at the first Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, also attended by an Indian delegation led by Prasar Bharati Chairman Surya Prakash.

It's unclear how much money the fund will have; Britain committed NZ $5.6 million and Canada just over $1.1 million.

In his letter to the British secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs, Simon said by denying RT and Sputnik accreditation based on a determination that these outlets are a form of propaganda, "your government risks undermining the very principles of free expression that the conference was meant to promote".

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RT, formerly known as Russia Today, said "it takes a particular brand of hypocrisy to advocate for freedom of press while banning inconvenient voices and slandering alternative media".

"And today, the (United States) has a leader who vilifies the media - making honest journalists all over the world more vulnerable to abuse", she said.

"We're seeing the rise of demagogues and ultra-conservative parties in formerly progressive countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, and the Philippines, who are openly hostile to the media", said O'Hanlon, a former news editor in the Parliament Hill bureau of The Canadian Press.

"The strongest safeguard against the dark side of power is accountability and scrutiny", he said. He and singled out China, which routinely censors the internet, as an example of a country where "the situation continues to deteriorate".

He told the press conference: "I wouldn't use the language President Trump used and I wouldn't agree with it".

The human rights lawyer championed the benefits of a free press as she took aim at the USA president, who frequently attacks reporters for spreading what he describes as "fake news".

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has criticized Australia's actions against journalists and says they could be used by leaders of more oppressive countries as an excuse for further clamp downs on press freedoms.

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