Harvey Weinstein hired detectives and undercover agents in deceitful effort to thwart publication of harassment claims by the New York Times and the New Yorker; attorney David Boies oversaw the effort while simultaneously representing the New York Times on other matters. The spread of fake news and hoaxes runs rampant after Texas shooting. Brandeis cancels Lenny Bruce play after protests. Planned Steve Bannon visit to the Citadel prompts protest preparations. Tom Steyer accuses Fox News of breach of contract after network pulls his ads for impeachment saying that its viewers didn’t appreciate them. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

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


Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies
Last fall, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He hired private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations.

Google and YouTube spread false claims Texas shooting suspect had leftwing ties
The rapid proliferation of fabricated politicized content has become a common feature of social media in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States. But the latest wave of propaganda in Texas was particularly significant given YouTube’s recent claims that it implemented changes to counter the problem and prioritize legitimate news during national tragedies.

Brandeis University Cancels Play About Lenny Bruce After Protests
The play, called “Buyer Beware,” was written by Michael Weller, an alumnus of the school and a playwright. “Buyer Beware” was supposed to go on stage this month, but it was cancelled after students and faculty expressed outrage about its content.

As Steve Bannon’s Citadel talk nears, Charleston activists plan protest
A planned appearance by Steve Bannon at a Citadel student organization’s event continues to draw scrutiny from leaders in Charleston’s black community, who say they worry the talk by the controversial former adviser to President Trump only serves to open deep wounds.

Steyer claims breach of contract after Fox News pulls his Trump impeachment ads
Billionaire political donor and activist Tom Steyer has accused Fox News of breaching its contract to air ads on the network calling for President Trump’s impeachment. Steyer’s legal team called the move “baseless and unethical.”


At Least Two Dead And 20 Wounded In Shamshad TV Attack
At least two other insurgents entered the Shamshad TV station and started randomly shooting staff after detonating explosives at their gate, leaving at least two dead. Shamshad TV news director Abed Ehsas said such incidents against the media will not prevent journalists from doing their work and getting stories out to the people.

UK intelligence agencies face surveillance claims in European court
Numerous NGOs claim their communications are likely to have been spied on, violating their rights to privacy and freedom of expression while jeopardizing confidentiality and the protection of the vulnerable sources and informants with whom they regularly deal.

Hong Kong court grants activist Wong’s prison appeal bid
Hong Kong’s top court on granted a bid by three young democracy activists including Joshua Wong to appeal a prison sentence related to their involvement in huge 2014 pro-democracy protests in the Chinese-controlled city.

Libya: Armed group shuts down comic book convention
An armed group in Libya shut down a comic book convention in the capital Tripoli because it breached the country’s “morals and modesty.” Special Deterrent Forces (SDF)—a group loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord—said they had arrested organizers of the Comic Con convention.

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