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The FCC is set to unveil plans for a final vote next week to reverse the Obama-era net neutrality order—now is the time to submit a comment to Congress. Charles G. and David H. Koch back the Meredith Corporation’s renewed bid to purchase Time Inc. Researchers have found evidence of Russian bots aimed to influence the 2016 UK vote in favor of Brexit. Supreme Court agrees to take three First Amendment cases involving insults at a city council meeting, a ban on political apparel at polling places, and a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to alert patients about state-subsidized family planning and abortion services. Texas sheriff threatens disorderly conduct charge based on anti-Trump sticker on truck. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

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


FCC plans to vote to overturn U.S. net neutrality rules in December: sources
The head of the Federal Communications Commission is set to unveil plans next week for a final vote to reverse a landmark 2015 net neutrality order barring the blocking or slowing of web content.

Meredith Bid for Time Inc. Said to Be Backed by Koch Brothers
Time Inc. is said to be in talks to sell itself to the Meredith Corporation, in a deal backed by Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers known for supporting conservative causes.

Twitter removes verified blue badge from far-right accounts after changing rules
The aim of verification is to let people know that an account of public interest is legitimate. But Twitter admitted in a tweet from November 9 that it is “interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.” At the time, the microblogging site said this was causing “confusion.”

Justices Take Cases on Free Speech at Pregnancy Centers and Polling Places
The Supreme Court agreed to hear three cases on the limits of the First Amendment: One asks whether California may require “crisis pregnancy centers” for information about abortion; another challenges a Minnesota law that forbids wearing political insignia at polling places; and a third concerns a Colorado baker who says being required to create a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage violates his free speech rights.

Texas sheriff is on the hunt for driver with profane anti-Trump window sticker
A sheriff in Texas is looking for a truck bearing a profanity-laced anti-Trump sticker and said authorities are considering charging its owner with disorderly conduct—a threat that immediately raised alarm among free speech advocates.


Here’s the first evidence Russia used Twitter to influence Brexit
A network of accounts posted pro and anti-Brexit, anti-immigration, and racist tweets around the E.U. referendum vote while also targeting posts in response to terrorist attacks across the continent. The accounts amplified their own messages to reach a greater audience, and their impact raises questions about the full extent of Russia’s propaganda campaign.

My charity’s libel action against Nigel Farage marks a defeat for fake news
“Hope Not Hate is also putting purveyors of fake news on notice: no more. There needs to be a line in the sand for those who blithely, and without fear or concern for the consequences, throw out falsity. We will challenge and expose those who seek to pursue the politics of division and intolerance on the back of such tactics.”

Sudanese journalists protest against draft media law
Dozens of Sudanese journalists demonstrated against a media law proposed by the council of ministers that contains wide restrictions against reporters. The journalists gathered at the headquarters of the Sudanese Press and Publication Council, waving banners and calling for “freedom of expression.”

‘Death of democracy’ in Cambodia as court dissolves opposition
Cambodia’s top court has ruled to dissolve the country’s main opposition party, ensuring that the prime minister, Hun Sen, runs effectively uncontested in the 2018 election. Having ruled for 32 years, Hun Sen has already shut independent newspapers and radio.

A Joke About the Nile Lands an Egyptian Pop Queen in Court
Singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab was referred to trial after a video clip of a concert circulated that showed her warning fans, obviously tongue-in-cheek, that drinking water from the Nile could make them sick.

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