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Attorney general nominee William Barr tells Senate confirmation hearing that he can conceive of situations in which journalists could be jailed. The streaming service Roku backs away from giving a platform to Infowars, peddler of false conspiracy theories. NBC revises guidance to its journalists, allowing them to characterize Iowa Rep. Steve King’s comments as ‘racist.’ Louisville newspaper apologizes for banning a paid obituary notice that mentioned the deceased woman’s frustration about the Trump administration as ‘contributing to her decline.’ -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Attorney General Nominee William Barr Doesn’t Reject the Possibility of Jailing Journalists
Barr did not reject the possibility of jailing journalists outright. Instead, he said that it would likely be a “last resort,” but noted that there were situations where he could envision it happening.

Streaming Service Roku Offers Alex Jones a Platform, Then Quickly Retreats
News that Infowars was available on Roku ignited a social media fury, coming months after Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and others banned Infowars content. Roku then removed the channel from its platform.

Journalists Slam NBC after They Asked Staffers to Avoid Calling Steve King Racist
NBC News staffers received an email from the network’s standards department telling them not to directly refer to Rep. Steve King’s recent comments about white supremacy as “racist.” But on the heels of the backlash from journalists and others on social media, NBC revised its guidance on King.

An 87-Year-Old’s Obituary Said Trump ‘Hastened’ Her Death. A Local Paper Wouldn’t Run It.
The Courier-Journal declined to publish: The Trump quip would need to be removed, the family was told, or the $1,684 obituary wouldn’t run at all. Now, more than two weeks after Williams’s memorial services, the paper and its owner, Gannett, are apologizing following a backlash on social media.


Rights Groups Demand Release of Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti on Fifth Anniversary of Arrest *PEN Case List: Learn more
Rights activists and Uyghur advocacy groups demanded the release of Uyghur academic and blogger Ilham Tohti from prison in statements marking the fifth anniversary of his arrest on charges of promoting separatism and subsequent sentencing to a life term behind bars.

Montenegrin Journalist Jailed in ‘Disturbing Setback’ for Press Freedom
A court in Montenegro has sentenced Jovo Martinovic, an investigative reporter, to 1.5 years in prison in a ruling condemned by international media watchdogs as a “terrible injustice” and a “disturbing setback” for press freedom in the country.

Media Watchdog Condemns ‘Yellow Vest’ Attacks on Journalists
Reporters Without Borders called on those who speak for France’s “yellow vest” protesters to condemn numerous attacks and threats against journalists across the country during the latest round of anti-government demonstrations.

The Zimbabwean Government Has Reportedly Shutdown the Internet Amid Nationwide Protests
Zimbabweans anticipated the move by government and are thus one step ahead of the internet shutdown. Many have taken to downloading verified virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent the issue and have begun to circulate how-to guides on social media with fellow Zimbabweans.

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