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Amid decline in local news coverage, emerging publications like The City seek to cover news that is not being reported in New York City. Prominently visible online rules cut online harassment and boost participation, Princeton University study finds. (See PEN America’s tools and resources for targets of online harassment.) Young adult novelist decides to publish first novel, against critics who pushed to prevent the publication for its depiction of race. Facebook failing to uphold its commitment to limit spread of online misinformation. (See PEN America’s recent report which examines the effect of fraudulent news in 2018 election cycle, and read our pledge to truth for candidates running for office in 2020.) -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


A Battered New York Press and the Hope of The City
Local news has taken a beating in New York in recent years. Major publications, including The New York Times and the Daily News, have winnowed local coverage in favor of national and global stories. Others, including The Village Voice and DNAinfo, have closed outright. But now there’s The City, a digital news nonprofit that launched this month with the aim of investing in local accountability journalism.

Prominently Posted Rules Boost Participation, Cut Harassment Online
In a test developed with a 13.5 million subscriber science discussion group on Reddit, Princeton researchers found that rules posted at the top of the forum increased user participation by 70 percent and also prevented thousands of people a month from making unwelcome comments.

She Pulled Her Debut Book When Critics Found It Racist. Now She Plans to Publish.
Amélie Wen Zhao’s debut novel, “Blood Heir,” was six months away from publication, but it was already getting pummeled. Some readers argued that Zhao’s depiction of slavery was racially insensitive, and she received criticism online from many people who hadn’t even read the book. Still, she decided to pull its debut. But after taking time to reexamine her work, she said its “true to [her] vision” and plans to publish it.

Facebook, ‘Asleep at the Wheel’
“After Facebook helped spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign, company executives vowed to do better. They put in place policies meant to reduce the amount of political misinformation on the platform. They’re not doing a very good job of keeping their word.”


Mexico: President Amlo’s Criticism Sparks Death Threats to Newspaper
Andrés Manuel López Obrador swept the Mexican left into power with promises of respecting the press and ending the killing of journalists. But that commitment is now being tested, as the president aims a series of barbs at a Mexico City newspaper providing tough coverage of his actions in power.

Filipino Journalist’s Fearless Coverage Wins Photo Prize
Eloisa Lopez has been named the winner of this year’s Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism which honors brave women photojournalists, in memory of the German photojournalist who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014.

Video of Polish Artist Natalia LL Eating a Banana Temporarily Goes Back on Show after Protests over Museum’s ‘Censorship’
A 1973 video of the Polish artist Natalia LL suggestively eating a banana has gone back on show at the National Museum in Warsaw after almost 1,000 people protested its removal, claiming it was censorship.

Journalist in Chechnya Released after Three Years in Prison on Drug Charge He Denies
Zhalaudi Geriyev, a journalist in Chechnya, has been released from prison after serving three-year term for illegal drug possession, a charge he has been denying since his arrest. Geriyev says he was kidnapped, beaten, and accused of having marijuana in his backpack. Geriyev said he was kidnapped, beaten, and accused of having marijuana in his backpack.

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