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Georgia lawmakers approve bill stripping tax break benefiting Delta, making good on threat issued after the company dropped discounted fares program for NRA members. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revokes his consent to make public the video of his UCLA lecture during which he was questioned and heckled. Justice Department expected to criticize former FBI official for disclosing information about an ongoing investigation to journalists. Facebook says it is ending an experiment in six countries that segregated news content from other posts, a move criticized by independent journalists and civil society groups. (See Why Facebook’s News Feed Changes Pose a Threat to Free Expression) -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Georgia Republicans honor their threat to punish Delta for cutting ties with NRA
By passing the bill, lawmakers carried out the threat that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle made to Atlanta-based Delta earlier this week: If the airline did not restore discounted fares to members of the National Rifle Association, Republicans would strike down a $50 million sales-tax exemption on jet fuel from its larger tax-cut package.

Mnuchin Blocks U.C.L.A. From Releasing Video of Students Heckling Him
Although Mr. Mnuchin did not want to give additional publicity to those who disrupted him, the shielding of the video has drawn more attention to the series of tense exchanges. The Treasury Department pushed back against criticism that Mr. Mnuchin was not being transparent by barring the release of the university’s copy of the video.

Internal DOJ review to be critical of FBI’s Andrew McCabe
The report, initiated more than a year ago and due out within weeks, has been eagerly anticipated in Washington and will unquestionably add new details to the debate on how law enforcement officials handled election-year investigations into both Clinton and Trump.

When Fighting Fake News Aids Censorship
“Even when journalists aren’t arrested, autocrats are increasingly invoking the claim of ‘fake news’ to discredit legitimate reporting. And here, ironically, efforts by some Western governments to sanitize social media of fake or violent material have played into the autocrats’ hands.”


Facebook to End News Feed Experiment in 6 Countries That Magnified Fake News
News organizations in the countries—Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Serbia—had said they were blindsided by the Facebook experiment when it began in October and complained that it had led to a surprising rise in misinformation.

Egypt’s leader: Defaming security forces is ‘high treason’
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s warning came as security forces enter the fourth week of a campaign against militants led by the Islamic State group in the northern Sinai Peninsula. “Don’t allow anyone to defame them. If anyone defames them, he is defaming all Egyptians. It’s no longer a question of freedom of speech,” said el-Sissi.

Singapore’s planned terror response stokes concerns over press freedom
A proposed law that would allow authorities to ban the transmission of images from terror attacks and reports about security operations has drawn criticism as a curb on press freedom. The move comes as Singapore considers legislation to fight fake news, which critics say could further hinder press freedom.

Nepal newspaper due in court for case slammed as press freedom attack
In the subpoena issued by chief justice Gopal Parajuli—who will preside over the case despite being directly implicated in it—the newspaper is accused of using “objectionable language” and repeating “imaginary facts.” Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders slammed the move and urged lawmakers to impeach the top judge.

EU Warns Tech Giants to Remove Terror Content in 1 Hour—or Else
“Online platforms are becoming people’s main gateway to information, so they have a responsibility to provide a secure environment for their users,” said Andrus Ansip, EU vice president for the digital single market. Digital rights group EDRi warned that the EU is “pushing ‘voluntary’ censorship to internet giants.”

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