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Facebook creates new strategic task force to provide rapid response review of content in effort to avoid fueling violent conflict. Republican Senator Josh Hawley proposes new legislation to remove safeguards for internet service providers and social media platforms through limiting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. President Trump threatens a reporter with prison time after he took photograph of a letter exchange between Kim Jong Un and Trump. (See PEN America’s lawsuit against the president for his ongoing scheme to retaliate against and threaten members of the media.) Minnesota Supreme Court reverses conviction of Twitter user who abused a teen with autism, finding that the state stalking law is overly broad and violated the user’s First Amendment rights. (Learn about PEN America’s efforts to support targets of online harassment and abuse.) -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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

U.S.

Facebook Has a New Rapid Response Team to Prevent Fueling Violence
The driving force behind the team is the company’s blotted legacy in Myanmar, the southeast Asian nation where, according to United Nations researchers, Facebook became the go-to tool for spreading propaganda that helped drive a genocide of a religious minority, the Rohingya.
NBC NEWS

Josh Hawley Wants to Stop Internet Censorship by Censoring the Internet
“[Hawley’s] bill is meant to punish Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other new-media giants for their ostensible discrimination against conservatives. This alleged bias, a frequent Republican complaint, is unproven and unlikely to exist, but Hawley believes it is so rampant that nothing less than federal legislation can end it.”
SLATE

Minnesota Supreme Court Rules Stalking, Mail Harassment Laws Overly Broad in Cyberbully Case
The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed the cyberbullying conviction of a Scott County high school student, ruling that the state laws under which he was charged are overly broad and impede free speech.
STAR TRIBUNE

Trump Threatens Time Journalist with Prison over Photo
President Trump threatened a Time magazine photographer with prison for apparently taking a picture of a letter from Kim Jong Un. Trump rebuked the photographer in the Oval Office after he was warned by an aide not to take a photo, according to the transcript.
BBC NEWS

Alabama and Texas Are Putting Free Speech at Colleges in Jeopardy *Find out more about PEN America’s work to advance free expression and inclusion on college campuses here
“Across the country, college students have been staging sit-ins and walkouts, protesting fraternities and commencement speakers, and petitioning for professors to be fired. The confrontations have raised questions about the boundaries of student protest rights. Now, a wave of new laws threatens to dampen those rights in troubling ways.”
WASHINGTON POST

 
Global

Leading Newspapers In Daghestan Demand Journalist’s Release
Three leading newspapers in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Daghestan have published a joint editorial on their front pages to demand the immediate release of journalist Abdulmumin Gadzhiyev, who was arrested on what they called “trumped up” terrorism charges.
RADIO FREE EUROPE

Sand Mafias Silence Journalists in India
“A consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world collected testimonies that challenge the official version of journalist Jagendra Singh’s suicide, and found that Singh’s death seems to be part of what is becoming the history of repression and silencing of journalists by Indian sand tycoons.”
RAPPLER

Video: China Is Creating an Alternate Reality about the Hong Kong Protests, in Real Time
This is a news event that seems like it would give Chinese censors a run for their money. … [But] discussion about it has been almost completely shut down. Searching for “Hong Kong” in China only brings up propaganda, celebrity gossip, and business news. Watch the video to learn how this works.
QUARTZ

How Ethiopia Controls the Internet
Ethiopia is one of the most restrictive countries in the world when it comes to Internet use, according to a Freedom House study. The government controls the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, allowing it to shut off or restrict information flows and access to internet and mobile phone services.
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

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