Countries restricting media freedom must pay price - UK's Hunt

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney left Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland right attend a meeting in Dinard Brittany Friday

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney left Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland right attend a meeting in Dinard Brittany Friday

The media freedom conference was hosted by Britain with the Canadian government and attended by delegations from more than 100 countries.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney accused world leaders Wednesday of failing to protect journalists and responding with "a collective shrug" over the slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

The kingdom has come under heightened worldwide criticism over its human rights record after Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by Saudi operatives inside its Istanbul consulate last October. "At its best, a free media both protects society from the abuse of power and helps to release the full potential of a country", said Hunt, one of the leadership contenders in the ongoing British Prime Ministerial race.

The 59-year-old journalist, a US-based columnist for the Washington Post and prominent critic of Prince Mohammed, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October to obtain papers he needed to marry Ms Cengiz.

The fund, which will be administered by UNESCO, will be used to support, train and provide legal help for journalists around the world. It's unclear how much money the fund will have; Britain committed 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) and Canada 1 million Canadian dollars ($760,000).

The British government said Sputnik and RT are barred because of "their active role in spreading disinformation".

RT was censured a year ago by Britain's broadcast regulator for breaking United Kingdom impartiality rules in its coverage of the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in England.

Hunt, who appeared alongside Clooney at a media freedom conference in central London, also criticised Trump for calling journalists the "enemy of the people".

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".

Britain and Canada want to create a group of "like-minded countries to lobby in unison where media freedom comes under attack", Hunt told a press conference.

The report says the UN Security Council should initiate a follow-up criminal investigation into Khashoggi's murder to build up strong files on each of the alleged perpetrators and identify mechanisms for formal accountability, such as a tribunal. He and singled out China, which routinely censors the internet, as an example of a country where "the situation continues to deteriorate".

Clooney did not utter Trump's name, but said "The country of James Madison has a leader today who vilifies the media, making honest journalists all over the world more vulnerable to abuse".

Saudi Arabia dipped into the bottom 10 countries in RSF's 2019 World Press Freedom Index, and is now ranked 172 out of 180 countries.

"The country of James Madison has a leader today who vilifies the media, making honest journalists all over the world more vulnerable to abuse", said Clooney, referencing the former president who helped ensure freedom of speech is enshrined in the U.S. constitution.