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National security advisor John Bolton defends the fact that neither he, nor the president or some other top administration officials, listened to the audio of the killing of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. He asked: ‘Why do you think I should?’ White House holds first press briefing since October 29; MSNBC chooses not to air it live, and CNN splits screen with a fact check of the press secretary. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, press pass reinstated, attends and asks follow-up questions. Conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group, with more than 100 TV stations nationwide, issues another ‘must-run’ segment defending tear-gassing of migrant families. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


‘Why Do You Think I Should?’: Bolton Defends Not Listening to Khashoggi Tape
John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, defended the fact that neither Trump nor top national security officials had listened to audio of the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that they did not speak Arabic and would not be able to understand what was on the tape. Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, took two experts in Arabic with her when she listened to the audio.

MSNBC Declines to Allow Sarah Sanders to Dictate Its Programming
“With this approach, journalists at MSNBC can evaluate what happened at the briefing and reach measured decisions about whether to incorporate the goings-on into its work.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Gets Fact-Checked Live On Air By CNN
A “Facts First” box listing key points about the government’s new National Climate Assessment flashed up as Sanders defended President Donald Trump’s rejection of the report, which was released over the Thanksgiving weekend and predicted that the U.S. faces warming of at least 3 more degrees this century.

No Confrontation Between Jim Acosta, Sarah Sanders at First Press Briefing Since CNN Legal Battle
CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta posed pointed questions of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the first official press briefing since the network went to court to restore his credentials, but the encounter was largely free of confrontation and contentiousness.

New Sinclair Segment Defends Tear-Gassing Of Migrant Children At Border
Media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group has reportedly released a new “must-run” segment that balks at the caravan of migrants attempting to apply for asylum in the U.S. and applauds U.S. officials for using force against them.


Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo win Journalist of the Year at Foreign Press Association Media Awards *PEN Case List: Find Out More
Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have received a Foreign Press Association Media Award. They were jointly awarded the Journalist of the Year Award for ‘Massacre in Myanmar,’ an investigation of a massacre of 10 Rohingya men and boys in a village in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

A Journalist Was Killed in Mexico. Then His Colleagues Were Hacked.
Javier Valdez, a prominent investigative reporter, had been shot dead only a day earlier. Then came a sudden breakthrough: According to a text message received by his colleagues, his killers had been detained. But the messages were infected with a spyware known as Pegasus.

Veteran Editor of Uyghur Publishing House Among 14 Staff Members Held Over ‘Problematic Books’
A 30-year veteran editor is among more than a dozen staff members arrested after their Uyghur-run publishing house in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region released books deemed “problematic” because of improper political content.

‘I Wake up Believing I’m Still Captive in Syria’ — Japanese Journalist Jumpei Yasuda
Journalist Jumpei Yasuda was released in early November after being held in Syria for 40 months. “It’s strange, but one of the dreams I often had when I was being held in Syria was that I was in my home in Tokyo and that if I could just open the door and step out, I would be free. And now my dreams are that I am back in Syria, being held and not being permitted to move at all. It is a very strange sensation.”

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