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Russia Today and Sputnik barred from UK media event

July 9, 2019

By Chris Forrester

Two notorious “disinformation” operations, TV channel Russia Today (RT) and Russian news agency Sputnik, have been barred from attending a London conference (Global Conference for Media Freedom) on press freedoms and the safety of journalists.

UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has barred the two Kremlin-financed organisations, reportedly because of their roles in “spreading disinformation”.

Russia’s ambassador to the UK has formally complained that two Russian media outlets have been denied accreditation to cover the conference. The exclusion “amounts to direct, politically motivated discrimination,” the Russian embassy said in a statement.

The conference organisers say that they have rejected requests from those organisations directly engaged in propaganda, not news gathering.

The two-day conference which opens July 10th, is hosted by human rights lawyer Amal Clooney who is Britain’s Special Envoy on Media Freedom, and the event is co-hosted by Canada and the UK Foreign Office.

Jeremy Hunt added: “My aim for this conference is to work with my counterparts to agree on a way to protect media freedom and impose a cost on those who abuse it.”

The event says it brings together over 1,000 guests, including government ministers and officials, the diplomatic community, international agencies, journalists, civil society, and academics. It will examine the challenges facing media freedom and the opportunities we can create for a safer environment for journalists. The conference will see countries and international organisations coming together to take meaningful action to defend media freedom.

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