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Cesar Sayoc, who mailed pipe bombs to media organizations and prominent Democrats, sentenced to 20 years in prison. Ruling on Knight First Amendment Institute’s lawsuit against Trump for blocking critics on Twitter sets precedent for local and state government officials, as well as U.S. Representatives. The New York Times faces criticism and backlash for the headline in its coverage of Trump’s address following two mass shootings, highlighting the challenge media organizations face in accurately covering facts while reflecting the context of a presidency complicit in racism and white supremacy. Gatehouse Media buys Gannett, owner of USA Today and its network of local and regional newspapers. Toni Morrison, award-winning author, Nobel laureate, and giant of storytelling, dies. (See PEN America’s statement and tribute.) -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Florida Man Who Mailed Bombs to Democrats, Media Gets 20 Years in Prison
Cesar Sayoc, the Florida bodybuilder and nightclub bouncer who mailed inoperative pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and media figures seen as critical of President Trump, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a federal judge in New York.

Unsurprising Ruling on Trump Twitter Feed Offers Lesson to Local Governments
“While he is not required to listen, once he opens the interactive features of his account to the public at large, he is not entitled to censor selected users because they express views with which he disagrees,” the court ruled. This ruling is already having a trickle-down effect.

Letting Trump off the Hook
“The Times wasn’t the only offender: numerous headlines and story openers quoted Trump’s words without any effort at context. … When Trump rails against an individual or group, commentators stress that his words have real-world consequences. When something that looks like a real-world consequence comes to pass, adopting Trump’s narrative defies logic.”

The GateHouse Takeover of Gannett Has Been Finalized
The long-rumored merger of Gannett and GateHouse, the country’s two largest newspaper chains, was announced by both companies. The impact on newsrooms isn’t yet clear. Reductions are not expected right away—but cuts related to weak revenues, combined with restructuring plans, may be on the horizon.

Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate Who Transfigured American Literature, Dies at 88
Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who conjured a black girl longing for blue eyes, a slave mother who kills her child to save her from bondage, and other indelible characters who helped transfigure a literary canon long closed to African Americans, died August 5 at a hospital in the Bronx. She was 88.


Mexican Journalist Killed in Veracruz, 10th Murdered in 2019
Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vázquez, a journalist in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, has been shot dead just days before he was scheduled to testify before state authorities about threats of violence against him.

Kashmir in Lockdown after Autonomy Scrapped
Indian-administered Kashmir remains locked down a day after it was stripped of a status that gave it significant autonomy from the rest of India. Telephone networks and the internet, which were cut off on Sunday evening, are yet to be restored and tens of thousands of troops are patrolling the streets.

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters: Don’t ‘Play with Fire’
Amid weeks of mass anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong that have frequently turned violent, Beijing on Tuesday issued a stark warning to protesters: “those who play with fire will perish by it.”

Tanzanian Investigative Journalist in Court over Money Laundering
Erick Kabendera, who was arrested by plainclothes policemen last week, appeared in court charged with leading organized crime, failure to pay tax amounting to 173m Tanzanian shillings ($75,000), and money laundering of the same amount. Press freedom advocates have called the charges “clearly retaliatory.”

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