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Google’s external ethics board on artificial intelligence suffers early setback as a privacy expert member withdraws and another member is subject to public petition for removal. Nation’s largest TV station owner, Sinclair Broadcasting, hires former Fox News personality, the latest in what some consider is a ‘Fox-ification’ media effort by Sinclair. House Democrats set vote for Tuesday on net neutrality legislation, which would reinstate FCC’s regulation of the internet. (See PEN America’s position on why net neutrality matters for free expression.) Media freedom and human rights organizations urge U.S., Britain, and France to speak out publicly for accountability in Saudi trial of 11 individuals charged with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (See more of PEN America’s advocacy in the Khashoggi case.) -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Google AI Ethics Council Is Falling Apart after a Week
Google recently appointed an external ethics council to deal with tricky issues in artificial intelligence. The group is meant to help the company appease critics while still pursuing lucrative cloud computing deals. But the council is already falling apart, a development that may jeopardize Google’s chance of winning more military cloud-computing contracts.

That Fox-y Feeling? The Nation’s Largest TV Station Owner Hires Some Familiar Fox News Names
Eric Bolling isn’t the only prominent former Fox personality to make the move to Sinclair, a company based in suburban Baltimore that owns 191 TV stations across the country. Last month, Sinclair signed up former White House adviser and Fox commentator Sebastian Gorka as a contributor. In January, it hired veteran Fox reporter James Rosen, adding him to its Washington bureau.

Democrats Revive Net Neutrality Fight
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has set a vote for Tuesday on the Save the Internet Act, which would reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) regulations requiring internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

Rights and Media Groups Want Information on Khashoggi Trial
Seven human rights and press freedom groups, including PEN America, are urging the United States, Britain, and France to speak out publicly about the trial in Saudi Arabia of 11 people charged in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that those nations’ diplomats are attending.


Renowned Russian Director Serebrennikov Freed from House Arrest *PEN Case List: Learn More
A Moscow city court judge overturned a decision by a lower tribunal last week to extend for three months the arrest of renowned film and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is on trial on embezzlement charges.

Britain Proposes Broad New Powers to Regulate Internet Content
Britain proposed sweeping new government powers to regulate the internet to combat the spread of violent and extremist content, false information, and harmful material aimed at children. The proposal would be one of the world’s most aggressive actions to rein in the most corrosive online content.

Finnish Journalist Speaks out after Trump Administration Cancels ‘Courage’ Award
A State Department spokesman originally claimed that Jessikka Aro was “incorrectly notified” that “she’d been selected as a finalist.” But internal emails cast doubt on this version of events. The emails showed months of correspondence about the award and her expected trip to Washington. Things changed after an embassy official asked her to send a list of her “social media handles.”

China Agents Interfered with Turnbull’s Classified Inquiry
Two Australian writers, including one now detained in China, were the targets of a Chinese government intelligence operation conducted partly on Australian soil. The Chinese operation was seeking details about former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s 2016 classified inquiry into Beijing’s campaign to influence Australian politics.

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