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CNN office in New York is evacuated after receiving a suspicious package (see PEN America statement on the incident here.) As President Trump calls the killing of Washington-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “a very bad original concept” followed by “one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups,” the State Department says 21 Saudis suspected in the murder will have their US visas denied. The US Cyber Command launches operation targeting Russian operatives aiming to influence the upcoming midterm elections. NBC’s Megyn Kelly apologizes for her televised defense of Halloween costumes involving blackface, saying “the history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.” Apple chief Tim Cook issues sharp warning that technology’s potential can be undermined by poor privacy practices, divisive social media, and other shortcomings of his industry. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


CNN: Time Warner Building Evacuated Due to Suspicious Package
CNN was forced to cut a live broadcast out of its New York City studios and evacuate its building after a suspicious package was received in the mailroom. Supicious packages have also been sent to or intended to reach the homes of Hillary Clinton, George Soros, and Barack Obama in the past two days.

U.S. to Revoke Visas and Consider Sanctions against Those Responsible for Khashoggi Killing
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is “taking appropriate actions” against Saudi Arabia in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, including revoking visas and considering sanctions on those involved in the murder, in accordance with the provisions of the Magnitsky Act.

U.S. Begins First Cyberoperation Against Russia Aimed at Protecting Elections
The United States Cyber Command is targeting individual Russian operatives to try to deter them from spreading disinformation to interfere in elections. Defense officials would not say how many individuals they were targeting, and would not describe how the Cyber Command has contacted the operatives behind the influence campaigns.

NBC’s Megyn Kelly Apologizes for Comments about Blackface
Kelly has apologized for comments made on her morning show, saying “I have never been a ‘PC’ kind of person, but I do understand the value in being sensitive to our history, particularly on race and ethnicity.” Her fellow NBC hosts also condemned her comments prior to her on-air apology.

“They Really Treat Us Well:” Trump Leans on Local Media Ahead of Midterms
As the midterm elections approach, Trump is increasingly seeking what he has described as better treatment from local media outlets, having done at least 10 local interviews tied to his rallies in October and going to considerable lengths to stage-manage coverage of the president’s appearances with Republican candidates.


Apple’s Tim Cook Blasts Silicon Valley over Privacy Issues
In a critique of Silicon Valley at the European Parliament in Brussels, Cook expressed alarm about divisive political rhetoric that proliferates on social media platforms, and rogue actors and governments that seize on algorithms to “deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false.”

Poland Awards Ukrainian Filmmaker Imprisoned in Russia
Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz bestowed the eighth annual Pro Dignitate Humana (For Human Dignity) award on 2017 PEN/ Barbey Freedom to Write Award honoree Oleg Sentsov, who staged a 144-day hunger strike to protest the incarceration of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.
*PEN Case List: find out more here

Saudi Crown Prince Calls Khashoggi Murder “Heinous Crime,” Vows Perpetrators Will Be Brought to Justice
In his first public comments since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi three weeks ago, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that his administration is doing all it can to complete an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice. The crown prince is widely suspected of having ordered the covert operation against Khashoggi.
*PEN Case List: find out more here

Japanese Journalist Is Freed After 3 Years As Captive In Syria
Jumpei Yasuda, reportedly taken hostage in Syria in 2015, has been freed and is now in Turkey. Yasuda was captured while reporting on the fate of a colleague, Kenji Goto, who was taken hostage by the Islamic State group and beheaded. Both Yasuda and Goto have been criticized in Japan for undermining the country’s foreign policy.

The British #MeToo Scandal which Cannot be Revealed
A leading businessman has been granted an injunction against The Telegraph, preventing the newspaper from revealing allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse of staff. Nondisclosure agreements are commonly used in business, but there are concerns over their use cover up wrongdoing and deter victims of crimes from going to the police.
THE TELEGRAPH *Find out more NDAs in the #MeToo era here

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