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The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, publishes the day after a gunman attacks its newsroom, killing five staff members. (See PEN America statement on this attack amid ongoing White House denigration of journalists here.) Fox News CEO tells her producers that they must control the inflammatory statements of hosts and guests. Rep. Maxine Waters cancels events after death threats that followed her call for protesters to confront Trump administration members over their immigration policies. California governor signs law giving consumers wide control over their personal data collected by technology companies. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson who resigned in protest is interrupted during TV news interview by Homeland Security agents. – Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Capital Gazette Shooting: Staff Publish Friday Edition
Staff at a Maryland newspaper have published a Friday edition after a gunman killed five people and injured two more at the paper’s office. The gunman, who fired through a glass door into the newsroom on Thursday with a shotgun, was arrested afterwards. He has been charged with murder and has a bail hearing shortly.

Fox News Boss Warns Staff Can be Held Responsible for Offensive On-Air Comments
Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott held a meeting with top staff telling producers of the channel’s biggest shows that they would be held responsible for what their guests—and even what the hosts—say on air. Fox News has had to respond to a growing number of offensive and insensitive statements by hosts and guests.

Report: Death Threat Forces Rep. Maxine Waters To Cancel Events In Texas And Alabama
Rep. Maxine Waters stirred up a lot of controversy last week when she called on people to confront Trump administration officials whenever they are out in public. Now the California Democrat reportedly has canceled events in Texas and Alabama because of a “serious death threat” made against her.

California Passes Strictest Online Privacy Law in the Country
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 on Thursday, which takes effect in 2020. The law gives consumers control over their personal data, granting them the right to know what information companies like Facebook and Google are collecting, why they are collecting it, and who they are sharing it with.

CBS News Interview With ICE Whistleblower Interrupted by Surprise Visit from Government Agents
In his first television interview, former ICE spokesperson James Schwab opened up about why he abruptly resigned in March. But his interview with CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas on Wednesday was unexpectedly interrupted by agents identifying themselves as agents from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office.


Facebook Patents System that Can Use Your Phone’s Mic to Monitor TV Habits
Facebook has patented a system that can remotely activate the microphone on someone’s phone using inaudible signals broadcast via a television. The recording could then be matched to a database of content to allow Facebook to identify what the individual was watching, but without the individual activating the system.

Australia Passes Foreign Meddling Laws Amid China Tensions
The Australian parliament has passed changes to espionage and foreign interference laws. The legislation underwent numerous amendments after criticism from a range of institutions, including charities, that the reforms were too broad and could impinge on freedom of expression and public policy debate.

Egypt Looks to Monitor Popular Social Media Users
Freedom of expression may shrink further in Egypt where lawmakers have approved the first reading of a bill that would monitor popular social media users in the name of combating “false news”. In Egypt, more than 500 websites have so far been blocked, according to the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

Military’s Shadow Darkens Media Coverage of Pakistan Elections
Facing abductions, censorship and financial ruin, journalists in Pakistan say they are under unprecedented pressure from authorities ahead of nationwide polls, sparking allegations the military is overseeing a “silent coup”. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and activists.

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