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PEN America announces 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award honorees: Saudi Writer-Activists and Women’s Rights Champions Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan. (Find out more here.) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo describes China as being in ‘a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations’ upon the release of the State Department’s annual report on human rights. This same report makes no mention of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely suspected to be involved in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Facebook faces criminal investigation over deals made with technology companies involving the exchange of hundreds of millions of its users’ personal data. The Verge reports on law enforcement’s targeted harassment of Ramsey Ortega, who filmed the killing of Eric Garner by a police officer in 2014 and is set to be the first witness in the the officer’s trial. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


3 Saudi Women Activists Receive PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award
In custody for working to “undermine the security” of the kingdom, Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain al-Hathloul and Eman al-Nafjan have openly opposed such government policies as a ban on women driving and the restriction of women’s travel, education, and other rights without approval from a male guardian.

China Is ‘in a League of Its Own’ on Human Rights Violations, Pompeo Says
The report pointed to the detention of Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities, and also criticized Hong Kong and Beijing authorities for restricting free expression in the city, particularly when it came to voicing support for Hong Kong independence.

New U.S. Report Omits Saudi Crown Prince from Jamal Khashoggi Section
The report, which lists alleged human rights violations around the world, includes Khashoggi’s murder in the country summary for Saudi Arabia, but makes no reference to U.S. intelligence reports that the crown prince likely ordered his death.

Facebook’s Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation
Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks.

Ramsey Orta Filmed the Filling of Eric Garner, so the Police Punished Him
“Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner. The video traveled far, but it wouldn’t get justice for his dead friend. Instead, the NYPD would exact their revenge through targeted harassment and eventually imprisonment—Orta’s punishment for daring to show the world police brutality.”


Opinion: A Sham Trial Exposes Saudi Arabia’s Continued Disrespect for Its Citizens *Find out more here
“People in Saudi Arabia expected an end to the persecution of civil society activists after the state acknowledged his brutal murder. Instead, the regime has doubled down by continuing to prosecute a group of female activists accused of undermining Saudi Arabia’s security.”

Germany Probes ‘Neo-Nazi’ Email Threats
German prosecutors are investigating more than 100 threatening emails sent to politicians, lawyers, a pop singer, and others, apparently from neo-Nazis. Left-wing MP Martina Renner and pop singer Helene Fischer were targeted.

‘The Police Told Me My Art Was Ugly, That It Was Trash’: How Havana’s Street Artists Are Adapting to a Rise in Censorship
Threatened by authorities, Cuban street artists are finding resourceful ways to continue their work: on pieces of garbage, on bicycle taxis, and on the underground Cuban Internet.

YouTube Is Rolling out a Feature That Shows Fact-Checks When People Search for Sensitive Topics
To be clear: Videos containing misinformation can still appear in the search results, but YouTube will generate these disclaimers when a query involves sensitive topics, with the intent to inform viewers as the company deals with the spread of misinformation on the platform. It’s currently available to some users in India.

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