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One new poll shows 85 percent of respondents see press freedom as essential for American democracy, but 29 percent agree with the idea that the media is “the enemy.’’ Twitter CEO says platform won’t suspend Alex Jones and his false conspiracy theories because Twitter’s rules have not been violated, and puts it on media to counter the lies. Facebook asked to change rules that restrict how journalists and scholars conduct research on the site. Read PEN America’s Suzanne Nossel on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and efforts to make the First Amendment a partisan weapon in the campus speech debate here. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Americans’ Views on the Media
According to the General Social Survey, the number of Americans with some or a great deal of trust in the press has dropped 30 percentage points since the late 1970s. A quarter of Americans (26%) say they agree “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Won’t Suspend Alex Jones, Says It’s On Media To ‘Refute’ His Lies
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, said that his platform hadn’t suspended conspiracy theorist Alex Jones because he “hasn’t violated our rules.” It’s unclear if Jones, whose Twitter history links to Sandy Hook conspiracy theories and a video mocking transgender people, was vetted under those rules.

Facebook is Asked to Change Rules for Journalists and Scholars
Facebook is being asked to change rules that restrict how journalists and scholars conduct research on the site—a request that raises unresolved issues about how the First Amendment applies to the social media era.

What the Trump Administration Gets Very Wrong About Free Speech
“Campuses have sometimes lapsed in protecting free speech, and the administration is right to stand up for open expression. But Jeff Sessions’ approach to the campus speech debate—which has thus far been one-sided and even insulting—risks fueling the very intolerance that he aims to counter.”


What the Arrest of Photographer Shahidul Alam Means for Press Freedom in Bangladesh *PEN Case List
When the acclaimed Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam gave an interview to Al Jazeera on Sunday, he did not have the demeanor of a man who knew he was going to be arrested. “There’s no general climate of free expression” says Summer Lopez, the senior director of free expression programs at PEN America.

‘Release Sentsov’ Banner Displayed In Moscow Amid Reports Hunger Striker’s Health Worsening *PEN Case List
A large banner demanding immediate release of hunger-striking Ukrainian film-maker Oleh Sentsov and other political prisoners in Russia has been displayed in downtown Moscow. Unknown activists placed the banner on the Krymsky (Crimean) Bridge over the Moskva River on August 8, the 87th day of Sentsov’s hunger strike.

Belarusian Authorities Raid Offices Of Independent Media, Detain Three Journalists
Belarusian authorities have raided the Minsk offices of two independent news outlets and detained three journalists, claiming they illegally obtained information from a state-run news agency. Belarus is ranked 155th in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index, which evaluates the level of press freedom in 180 countries each year.

Taipei Denies Journalist Groups’ Accusations of Press Intervention
The International Federation of Journalists and the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) released a joint statement Tuesday accusing the city government of intervening in three events of media reporting in less than one year, raising serious concerns about its commitment to press freedom.

From Mobutu to Kabila, Media Freedom in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Two decades after president Joseph-Desire Mobutu plundering regime fell, the former dictator and journalist’s toxic legacy of throttling free expression flourishes. “Freedom of information is constantly under attack and journalists are exposed to threats” says Committee to Protect Journalist’s Africa programme coordinator Angela Quinta.

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