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Government confirms that it has detained Marzieh Hashemi, U.S. citizen and journalist for Iran’s Press TV, as a witness. BuzzFeed stands by report that special counsel Robert Mueller had evidence of president Trump instructing former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, as special counsel’s office issues rare statement saying that report was ‘not accurate.’ Campaign group Stonewall records a spike in the number of attempts around the world to ban LGBT-themed children’s books. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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

U.S.

Government Confirms It Has Detained as a Witness a Journalist Who Works in Iran
The U.S. government confirmed that it has been holding an American-born journalist, who works in Iran, in jail as a “material witness” in a case in federal court in Washington and that she will be released after she testifies before a grand jury.
WASHINGTON POST

BuzzFeed News in Limbo Land
“The further the disputed report traveled, the more it seemed to help Trump, who is forever on the lookout for material for the most intensive anti-press branding campaign ever to come from the Oval Office.”
NEW YORK TIMES

Opinion: Hot Takes and Rushes to Judgment: This Weekend’s Biggest Stories Remind Us to Set a High Bar
“The media must guard against jumping the gun just to stay relevant on a big story. … When there is a fear of being left behind on a major story, news outlets must be sure that a ‘hot take’ doesn’t outmuscle smart, prudent, and responsible reactions.”
POYNTER

Trump Says He Directed Sarah Sanders ‘Not to Bother’ with White House Press Briefings
President Trump said that he directed White House press secretary Sarah Sanders “not to bother” with press briefings because he believes that reporters are rude to her and that most members of the media will not cover the administration fairly.
WASHINGTON POST

Opinion: Corporate Censorship Is a Serious, and Mostly Invisible, Threat to Publishing
“When state or civil authorities blacklist books, the act is correctly labeled censorship. But what is the word when parent corporations act out political or ideological dissatisfaction by ordering their subsidiaries to snuff out information in the form of books, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, movies?”
ELECTRIC LIT

 
Global

Stonewall Defends ‘Vital’ LGBT Children’s Books after Spate of Ban Attempts
U.K. campaign group Stonewall has warned that children’s books depicting LGBT people are vital for the wellbeing of young people exploring their sexual orientation and gender identity, following a spate of attempts around the world to remove titles depicting gay or transgender characters from library shelves.
THE GUARDIAN

Azerbaijan Drops New Charges Against Imprisoned Blogger Huseynov
Azerbaijani authorities have dropped a new criminal case opened against anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov, who is serving a two-year sentence in prison, the Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General’s Office said.
RADIO FREE EUROPE

India Wants Social Media Platforms to Remove Content It Deems ‘Unlawful’
If the amendments are approved, platforms like Facebook and Twitter would be required to censor content that the Indian government deems inappropriate, potentially affecting how content is served outside Indian borders.
THE VERGE

Netflix Will Regulate Its Content in India. It Swears That’s Not a Bad Thing.
The company is one of nine streaming platforms that has signed a “code of best practices” that pledges to self-regulate the content they publish online.” Netflix confirmed that it had signed the code, but the company downplayed suggestions that it amounts to censorship.
CNN

Egypt TV Host Mohamed Al-Ghiety Jailed for Interviewing Gay Man
An Egyptian TV presenter has been sentenced to one year of hard labor for interviewing a gay man last year. He was also ordered to be put under surveillance for one year after serving his sentence.
BBC NEWS

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