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A sixth-grader in Florida is facing misdemeanor charges for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Nonprofit organization Fight for the Future launches a whistleblower campaign for tech workers, reaching them by using micro-targeting features on Facebook and Google ads. Knight Foundation launches $300 million, five-year commitment to support and rebuild local news infrastructure. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Florida Sixth-Grader Arrested after Dispute with Teacher over Pledge of Allegiance
A Florida student is facing misdemeanor charges after a confrontation with his teacher that began with his refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and escalated into what officials described as disruptive behavior.

‘Do the Right Thing’: Ads on Facebook and Google Seek Big Tech Whistleblowers
Silicon Valley activists have launched a whistleblower campaign to help workers organize against “unethical tech,” including ads on social media platforms targeting the employees of those companies.

Knight Foundation Putting $300 Million toward Rebuilding Local News
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a $300 million commitment toward rebuilding local news ecosystems during the next five years, with details on where the first $100 million of that money would go.

An Alabama Newspaper Editor Wants to Bring Back Lynching
Goodloe Sutton, editor of the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Alabama, recently called in an editorial for mass lynchings and suggested that the Ku Klux Klan should return to “clean out” Washington.


Ai Weiwei Hits out at Film Censorship over ‘Berlin I Love You’
Artist Ai Weiwei has accused the producers of a film he worked on of cutting his part because they didn’t want to upset the Chinese authorities. Ai directed a segment of “Berlin I Love You”—but his “episode” didn’t end up in the finished version.

Is This the End of Cuba’s Astonishing Artistic Freedom?
“[A new] decree requires artists to obtain government approval before performing or displaying their work, while also regulating the artwork itself. … A group of artists cautioned against a regression to a form of censorship that has not been seen in Cuba for decades.”

The Spread of Fake News Has Had Deadly Consequences in Mexico. Meet the People Trying to Stop It.
After an incorrect report spread on WhatsApp, a mob lynched two men in Acatlán de Osorio, Mexico. Fact-checkers came in and tried to uncover the truth.

Opinion: ‘Never Again?’ It’s Already Happening.
“The report is one of many to describe the massive surveillance program that China has imposed in Xinjiang, using not only old-fashioned informers and police checkpoints, but artificial intelligence, phone spyware, and biometric data.”

Nepal Government’s New Information Technology Bill Draws Battle Lines against Free Speech
A new Information Technology bill proposed by the KP Sharma Oli administration giving sweeping powers to authorities to block social media platforms if they are not registered in Nepal has raised alarm, as rights advocates say it curtails freedom of speech online and increases surveillance of personal data.

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