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Facebook bans Alex Jones, right-wing founder of the false conspiracy-peddling InfoWars site, from posting for 30 days, but the Facebook channel with his name can continue activity. Twitter says it isn’t “shadow banning” Republicans as claimed by President Trump, but is working to fix a non-partisan bug. White House corrects official transcript of Trump-Putin press conference that left out a key exchange with a reporter. Mexican reporter and his son who were detained by ICE while legally in the US seeking asylum are released after seven months, following a judge’s order that suggested they were held because he criticized the asylum process. (See more here about advocacy by PEN America and other press freedom groups.) –Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

 

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

U.S.

Facebook Bans Alex Jones for 30 Days
Facebook has banned Infowars founder Alex Jones from the platform for 30 days over content that violated its community guidelines. The platform has said that pages will be pulled from the site after receiving a certain number of strikes, but hasn’t revealed how many strikes trigger the action.
THE HILL

Twitter Says Its So-Called ‘Shadow Banning’ Problem Affected Democrats Too
Normally, typing in a person’s name on Twitter’s search box brings up account suggestions but, according to Vice, this wasn’t happening for prominent US conservatives. Vice and others characterized this as shadow banning. The company did acknowledge an “auto-suggestion issue” and said it’s now fixed the bug.
BUSINESS INSIDER

The White House Quietly Corrects Its Putin Transcript
The White House made the fix after facing repeated questions from reporters about the discrepancy over the past week and, most recently, allegations that the Trump administration had intentionally altered the text. The White House now denies this, blaming the problem on a technical glitch.
THE ATLANTIC

Mexican Reporter and Son Released From Immigration Detention in Texas
A Mexican reporter and his son—who are seeking asylum in the United States—were released Thursday after spending seven months in federal detention in El Paso. After living and working legally in the United States for almost a decade, the two were arrested and detained by ICE in December.
TEXAS TRIBUNE

 
Global

UN Human Rights Experts Urge Egypt to Release Jailed Poet who Penned Hit Protest Song *PEN Case List
Galal El Behairy was arrested by National Security Police and detained for a week at an undisclosed location, before being charged with affiliating with terrorists. The poet’s detention takes place against a backdrop of restrictions to artistic and other forms of expression as well as to the right to participate in the country’s cultural life.
UN NEWS

Venezuelan Newspaper Closures Leave Coverage in State’s Hands
Almost three-quarters of Venezuela’s newspapers have closed during five years of recession. The closures have left coverage increasingly in the hands of state-controlled radio and television outlets and pro-government newspapers.
U.S. NEWS

Hong Kong Radical Is Test Case in China’s Bid to Limit Speech
Independence activist Andy Chan was minutes into an open-air debate in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park when an opponent suggested his actions might be as dangerous as terrorism. The proposed ban on the National Party, is the latest attempt to squelch a small but consequential independence movement.
BLOOMBERG

Unfree and Unfair: IFEX Condemns Cambodia’s Pre-Election Crackdown on Free Expression”
Actions taken by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), including the dissolution of the main opposition party, the shutdown of media outlets perceived as critical of the government, and the forced closure and deregistration of NGOs, appear to be a coordinated attempt to stifle all dissenting voices and legitimate criticism.
IFEX

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