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More emerges on National Enquirer’s owner buying and spiking potentially damaging stories about Donald Trump. As James Comey’s memoir debuts, president’s allies launch campaign to undercut the former FBI director’s credibility. Invoking First Amendment, FCC head rejects 12 senators’ request to investigate Sinclair Broadcast Group’s license for distorting news coverage. ESPN reports NFL team postpones Colin Kaepernick workout after he doesn’t promise to stop kneeling during the national anthem next season. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


How a Trump ‘love child’ rumor roiled the media
The odd spectacle of news organizations acknowledging their restraint in reporting a story, but then competing to put it out illustrates the media’s challenges in the Trump era, in which salacious allegations are often bandied about, while efforts of the president and his allies to control the media narrative are often news in themselves.

GOP campaign seeks to brand Comey a liar as he touts book critical of Trump
The broadside against Comey, a registered Republican for most of his adult life, comes as he is set to begin a media tour to tout his memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” which paints a devastating portrait of a president who built “a cocoon of alternative reality that he was busily wrapping around all of us.”

FCC won’t investigate Sinclair over ‘media bias’ warnings
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, citing concerns over violating the First Amendment, denies a request from Senate Democrats to investigate Sinclair Broadcast Group. The request arose after the company had news anchors at its stations across the U.S. read a script warning viewers of “fake news.”

Seahawks Postpone Kaepernick Visit After QB Won’t Say Whether He’ll Kneel During Anthem
Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s trip was postponed after he declined to stop kneeling during the national anthem next season. Kaepernick started protesting during the anthem by taking a knee before games in the 2016 season. Kaepernick’s protest is to raise awareness about racial and societal injustices in America.


Russian Court Bans Telegram App After 18-Minute Hearing
A Moscow court cleared the way for the government to ban the messaging app over its failure to allow Russian security services to read users’ encrypted messages. Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications and technology watchdog, asked the court for the authority to block the app, and for the ban to take immediate effect.

Egyptian prosecutor summons nine journalists over election coverage
The summons follows a complaint by the National Election Commission against journalists at the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm for publishing what it called false news about the election, syndicate secretary general Hatem Zakaria said.

Ecuador’s President Says Kidnapped Journalists Were Likely Killed
The three employees of El Comercio newspaper were taken hostage three weeks ago by a holdout faction of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia while investigating a rise in drug-fueled violence along Ecuador’s northern border. Ecuador’s President Moreno said it was highly likely the press workers were killed.

Singapore to test facial recognition on lampposts, stoking privacy fears
The plan to install the cameras, which will be linked to facial recognition software, is raising privacy fears among security experts and rights groups. The government said the system would allow it to “perform crowd analytics” and support anti-terror operations.

Tanzanian govt demands $930 fee from bloggers in internet clampdown
The government now requires all bloggers to pay the annual fee and register before they begin publishing material. It’s not just bloggers affected by the provisions, but online radio stations, online streaming platforms, online forums, social media users and internet cafes. Internet rights activists argue the new laws restrict freedoms.

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