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In extraordinary public appeal, Denver Post’s “News Matters” report on its own fate shows readers how far-away hedge fund investors demanding greater profits can decimate local information sources. (PEN America will be in Denver on April 21 for a timely discussion on newsroom transparency.) Comparison of subscription data against election results shows Trump outperforming in counties with lowest rate of newspaper subscribers, indicating, with caveats, the possible impact of “news deserts.” As Mark Zuckerberg preps for Congressional testimony this week, Facebook announces it will send notices to the 87 million users whose data was used by Trump-campaign linked Cambridge Analytica. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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

U.S.

Denver Post Rebels Against Its Hedge-Fund Ownership
Angry and frustrated journalists at The Post took the extraordinary step this weekend of publicly blasting its New York-based hedge-fund owner. The bold tactic was born out of a dissatisfaction not uncommon in newsrooms across the country as newspapers grapple with the loss of revenue that has followed the decline of print.
NEW YORK TIMES

How Trump thrives in ‘news deserts’
The results of Politico’s analysis show a clear correlation between low subscription rates and Trump’s success in the 2016 election, giving new force to widely voiced concerns of news-industry professionals and academicians about Trump’s ability to make bold assertions about verifiable facts without any independent checks.
POLITICO

Facebook to contact 87 million users affected by data breach
The firm said affected users would receive a detailed message on their news feeds. All 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice with a link to see what apps they use and what information has been shared with those apps. They will be able to shut off apps individually or turn off third-party access.
THE GUARDIAN

Professors Are Targets In Online Culture Wars; Some Fight Back
Colleges are meant to be a home for free inquiry. But these days, not all professors feel that freedom. Across the country, in the past year and a half, at least 250 university professors have been targeted via online campaigns because of their research, their teaching or their social media posts.
NPR

 
Global

He was wearing a vest marked ‘PRESS.’ He was shot dead covering a protest in Gaza.
Five other journalists were injured by live fire, as well, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. They were clearly identifiable as journalists, the syndicate said. The use of live ammunition against the protesters has been widely criticized by human rights groups, who argue it is illegal.
WASHINGTON POST

Supporters of embattled academic Benny Tai rally to protect free speech in Hong Kong
Prominent pro-democracy figures urged unity to protect freedom of speech in Hong Kong, with some 2,000 people attending a rally to support Benny Tai, a University of Hong Kong law professor who came under fire after suggesting Hong Kong could potentially become independent should China ever democratise.
HONG KONG FREE PRESS

Azerbaijan strongman to cement power in polls boycotted by the opposition
Opposition parties in the tightly-controlled Caucasus nation said that the conditions to hold a democratic election are not in place and accused authorities of preparing to rig the vote. “People are denied the freedom of expression and assembly, media are stifled and the opposition oppressed in Azerbaijan,” said opposition leader, Ali Kerimli.
AGENCE FRANCE PRESS

Scottish news publishers warn cost penalties in Data Protection Bill would be ‘extremely damaging’ to industry
Index on Censorship, English PEN, and Reporters Without Borders have warned that the proposals would have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and investigative journalism, with news organisations shying away from public interest stories because of the threat of crippling costs.
PRESS GAZETTE

Insulting Foreign Leaders Will Remain Illegal In Iceland For Time Being
The article in question is fairly wide-reaching, with fines or imprisonment for two to six years for anyone who “disgraces a foreign nation or a foreign State.” A bill submitted by the Left-Greens party calls for this article to be dropped on the grounds that it is antiquated and contradicting the universal right to freedom of expression.
THE REYKJAVIK GRAPEVINE

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