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As Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) link Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in strongest terms yet and promise swift action, Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) defends the White House’s response to the killing, saying ‘journalists disappear all over the country.’ FCC report indicates that up to 34 million Americans in rural regions lack access to high-speech internet. Facebook removes posts by former employee critical of the company’s response to racial discrimination. Increasingly sophisticated chatbots found to have created content on social media platforms, distorting public discourse on hot-button or polarizing issues ahead of the midterms elections. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Rep. Chris Stewart Defends Trump’s Response to Khashoggi Killing: ‘Journalists Disappear All over the Country’ *PEN Case List: Learn More
Several senators have stated that the evidence overwhelmingly points to the crown prince’s involvement. But Stewart echoed Trump, telling CNN’s Brianna Keilar that “no one can say” for certain what happened and maintaining that it is in U.S. interests not to allow the relationship with Saudi Arabia to rupture.

Rural Digital Deserts Prevent Affordable Internet Access for Millions
The FCC’s most recent report indicates that there are still 34 million Americans without access to high-speed internet services. To put it in perspective, that’s 10 percent of the entire population of the United States. More than 2 million have no access to internet at all, and new technology is widening the gap.

Facebook Removed Post by Ex-Manager Who Said Site ‘Failed’ Black People
Facebook removed a post from a former employee who accused the company of “failing its black employees and its black users,” saying the memo about racial discrimination violated its “community standards.”

Chatbots Are a Danger to Democracy
“A glance at recent political history suggests that chatbots have already begun to have an appreciable impact on political discourse. In the buildup to the midterms, for instance, an estimated 60 percent of the online chatter relating to ‘the caravan’ of Central American migrants was initiated by chatbots.”


Women Parliamentarians Want Global Network to Tackle Discrimination
Female parliamentarians have called for a global network to combat issues including online abuse from the public, threats to their safety, and discrimination by male colleagues. Women make up less than a quarter of parliamentarians worldwide.

Govt Mulls Legislation to Deal with Cyberbullying
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said he is inclined to the idea of adding provisions pertaining to cyber bullying into the Penal Code rather than creating a law on the matter to give the police authority to investigate such cases.

Cyberbullying, Fake News, and Other Crimes: Is Home Ministry’s ‘Handbook for Adolescents/Students on Cyber Safety’ Enough?
The Ministry of Home Affairs has published a booklet to create awareness about various cyber crimes such as identity theft, job fraud, and email spoofing. The booklet also shows ways on how children can protect themselves to deal with cyberbullying, cyber grooming, and email fraud. But how effective is it?

Bruguera and Other Cuban Artists Detained Ahead of Protest over Decree
Tania Bruguera and several other Cuban artists were detained in Havana after trying to stage a protest against a new decree that they fear will hamper creativity and increase censorship of Cuban culture.

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