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Facebook launches digital currency, creating new concerns for privacy and transparency. Harvard rescinds offer to Parkland shooting survivor and Turning Points USA activist Kyle Kashuv, saying racist comments he posted online violate their policies. New study digs in to the reasons people avoid the news, revealing that trust in media outlets is less of a concern than previously thought. Miami City Commission moves to end ‘one-way cultural exchange’ with artists and performers from Cuba in response to the government’s efforts to formalize its control over artistic expression. (See PEN America’s reaction here, and read more about Decree 349 and its impact on artists in Cuba in ARC’s white paper, Art Under Pressure.) Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam offers ‘sincere and solemn’ apology after a proposal to expand China’s extradition powers in the semi-autonomous territory sparked mass protests. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Facebook’s Digital Currency Could Trigger New D.C. Battles
Facebook, whose privacy practices have come under scrutiny from lawmakers, is likely to face pushback from regulators. “Facebook coin will do for money laundering what Facebook did for fake news—likely lead to an explosion in terrorist financing,” said Charlie Delingpole of Comply Advantage, an anti-money laundering consultancy.

Parkland Survivor and Former Turning Point Activist Says Harvard Pulled His Admission after Racist Speech Surfaced
Harvard University has apparently rescinded its offer of admission to Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland and a former Turning Point USA leader, after racist comments he made about two years ago surfaced online.

Why do some people avoid news? Because they don’t trust us—or because they don’t think we add value to their lives?
“News consumption used to be about daily habits. Now it seeps into our days as much or as little as we want it to. Civically useful journalism is competing with every other form of media, content, or diversion on your phone. In that context, many people decide, as rational economic actors, that they’re better off without.”

Miami City Commission Wants to End ‘One Way Cultural’ by Banning Cuban Performances
In a move to end a “one way cultural exchange” with Cuba, the Miami city commission unanimously passed a resolution asking Congress to allow states and local governments to ban contracting with Cuban artists and performers who do business with or are funded by the Cuban government.


Hong Kong Protesters Unimpressed by Lam’s ‘Sincere’ Apology
The leader of the semi-autonomous city apologized for the extradition law and hinted that the legislation was effectively shelved, but protesters criticized her as insincere and said she had ignored their key demands.

Pakistani Blogger, Social Media Activist Killed in Islamabad Knife Attack
Police in Islamabad say a popular Pakistani blogger and social media activist has been killed by an attacker with a knife. Muhammad Bilal Khan often wrote about Islam, advocating the coexistence of rival sects within Sunni and Shi’ite Islam.

As Myanmar Military Takes Critics to Court, Some Want Suu Kyi to Act
As Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi arrived at a Yangon court recently to face charges of defaming Myanmar’s military in Facebook posts, the ailing filmmaker was greeted by a crowd of activists dressed in blue, the color of prison uniforms.

Russia Drops Extortion Charges against Journalist after Outcry
A Russian court has released Igor Rudnikov, a newspaper editor who had been facing extortion charges, following an outcry from supporters and international organizations. Rudnikov had been in detention since November 2017, accused of extorting $50,000 from a senior investigator.

Jagendra Singh: The Indian Journalist Burned to Death
Jagendra Singh’s son said his father had previously been threatened. Police concluded he had killed himself. The family said they were given 3m rupees as a “wedding gift” for Singh’s daughter. They took it to mean that they should accept the police verdict, so Singh’s daughter, Diksha, has refused to touch the money.

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