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Department of Homeland Security warns federal employees against leaking ‘nonpublic information’ to the media, addressing whistleblower protocol following agency leaks. (See more from PEN America on the recent leak from a DHS employee about the agency gathering intelligence on members of the press.) American universities will work with national security officials in response to surveillance and infiltration threats from the Chinese government across U.S. campuses. Freelance journalists chronicle the struggles with endless revisions from editors, often without compensation, known as ‘scope creep.’ Facebook found to be paying U.K. paper The Daily Telegraph to sponsor articles and content that promote the social media platform in a positive light to combat widespread criticism. Arrests made in Saudi Arabia of writers and activists, including those with dual U.S. citizenship, in first effort since murder of Jamal Khashoggi to target activists perceived as critical of Saudi prince. (See PEN America’s advocacy to demand accountability 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


Homeland Security Officials Warned in Internal Memo Not to Leak Information to Public: Report
A top official at the Department of Homeland Security directed staffers not to share “nonpublic information” with journalists as the agency appeared to attempt to shut down leaks to the media. Chip Fulghum wrote in a memo that agency personnel risked civil, criminal, or on-the-job consequences.

Opinion: America’s Universities Are Finally Waking up to the China Threat
“America’s universities have been slow in coming to terms with the problems posed by Chinese influence. But they are finally beginning to work with the national security community to respond to China’s attempts to infiltrate the United States’ higher-education system and abuse those relationships to advance Beijing’s agenda.”

Freelancers Have a Name for Endless Rounds of Edits: Scope Creep
“Of course, going back and forth with an editor on a story is a vital part of what we do. But as budgets have gotten tighter, and the calculations we have to make as freelancers more complex, some reporters have adopted a term for projects that demand more—more words, more reporting, more interviews, picture research, and even sidebars—without any mention of additional pay: scope creep.”

Students Charged for Border Patrol Protest Speak Out: ‘I’m Afraid to Go to Class’
Two University of Arizona students facing criminal charges for protesting U.S. border patrol officers’ presentation on campus on March 19 said they have been “harassed” by the police, subject to violent threats and attacks from right-wing and anti-immigrant groups, and no longer feel safe going to class.


Facebook Is Partnering with a Big U.K. Newspaper to Publish Sponsored Articles Downplaying ‘Technofears’ and Praising the Company
Facebook has partnered with The Daily Telegraph, a broadsheet British newspaper, to run a series of features about the company—including stories that defend it on hot-button issues it has been criticized over like terrorist content, online safety, cyberbullying, fake accounts, and hate speech.

Saudi Arabia ‘Launches Wave of Arrests’ over Rights Support
Saudi Arabia has detained at least seven people, including two dual US-Saudi citizens, over their links to women’s rights activists. Those arrested are reportedly not frontline activists, but writers and bloggers who have discussed reform.

Serbian Court Gives Big Sentences to Killers of Journalist
A Serbian court sentenced four former state security members to up to 30 years in prison for the killing two decades ago of prominent journalist Slavko Curuvija, who was a critic of then-leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Amal Clooney Appointed as U.K. Envoy on Media Freedom
Amal Clooney, the international human rights lawyer, has been appointed by Jeremy Hunt to act as the foreign secretary’s special envoy on media freedom as part of his campaign to highlight assaults and restrictions on journalists globally.

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