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Facebook invokes free speech principles when pressed on why its campaign against misinformation doesn’t include taking down the InfoWars page that peddles false conspiracy theories. NPR reports that Russians trying to influence the information Americans received during the 2016 election campaign honed in on their greater trust in local news outlets, creating imposter twitter accounts that looked community based. President Trump urged to raise growing number of political prisoners—and particularly the case of PEN/Barbey Freedom To Write honoree Oleg Senstov, now on hunger strike—when he meets with President Putin on Monday in Helsinki. Read and sign PEN America’s petition. –Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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

U.S.

Facebook Won’t Ban Infowars in its Fake-News Purge
Facebook has drawn scrutiny over the fact it allows the conspiracy-theory website Infowars to operate a page on its platform just as the social network is promoting its efforts in dealing with intentionally false or misleading news. The outlet has said 9/11 was a so-called false flag and that the moon landings were faked.
BUSINESS INSIDER

Russian Hackers Used Fake Accounts Disguised as Local News: Report
An NPR report found that accounts linked to the St. Petersberg-based Internet Research Agency operated at least 48 social media accounts disguised as U.S.-based local media organizations. The link to the IRA suggests that the accounts were to be used in some future operation.
THE HILL

‘Roe v. Wade’ Movie Crew Member Assaulted Reporter
“A crew member of a controversial anti-abortion movie grabbed my notepad out of my hand by force while I reported from a shooting location in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning. I called the police. The officer declined to stop the man… insisting that the problem had already been solved.”
THE DAILY BEAST

Literature Behind Bars
“Modern prison writing came into its own during the Reformation, when large numbers of educated people were incarcerated as being enemies of the state because of their religious views. Prison writing speaks to a higher truth about the human condition: The spirit remains free, even when the body is in bondage.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL

 
Global

Trump Should Ask Putin to Release Russian Political Prisoners *PEN Case List
When President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, he will have an opportunity to address the release of political prisoners. There are 155 political and religious prisoners in the country, including Oleg Sentsov, a Crimean filmmaker who is now nearing two months on a hunger strike.
THE WASHINGTON POST

How Germany Won Freedom for the Widow of China’s Most Famous Dissident *PEN Case List
For the past year, China’s formidable security apparatus had guarded, watched and controlled the movements of Liu Xia, 57, widow of China’s most famous dissident, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died of cancer last July under police guard. A security official telephoned her last week to say she could leave the country.
NEW YORK TIMES

Sadiq Khan Defends ‘Trump baby’ Blimp, Cites Freedom to Protest
The mayor of London defended his decision to allow protesters to fly a giant “Trump baby” blimp over the city during President Donald Trump’s visit, saying disagreement was part of a fundamental freedom. Trump, who was due to meet Queen Elizabeth II later Friday, has feuded with Khan, who is Muslim, over crime and immigration.
NBC NEWS

Women Making Science Videos on YouTube Face Hostile Comments
Research published in the journal Public Understanding of Science found a tough environment for women who create YouTube videos centered on science, drawing both more comments per view than men and also a higher proportion of critical comments as well as remarks about their appearances.
NEW YORK TIMES

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