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President Trump declares he won’t hold Saudi rulers accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, putting preference on arms sales and purported security alliances. The president also takes up unsubstantiated Saudi claim that Khashoggi, dismembered inside the Saudi consulate after going there to get documents for his wedding, was seen as ‘enemy of the state.’ Accepting an international press freedom award, Maria Ressa, founder of Rappler, an independent news site in the Philippines, links President Trump and the president of her country: ‘You have a president so much like ours whose attacks against the press and women give permission to autocrats like ours to unleash the dark side of humanity,’ she said. New research suggests ‘corporations pollute more when there aren’t local papers to hold them accountable,’ Sophie Yeo writes in Pacific Standard. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing *PEN Case List: Find Out More
President Trump defied the nation’s intelligence agencies and a growing body of evidence to declare his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia, asserting that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s culpability for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi might never be known.

Trump’s Defense of Khashoggi’s Saudi Murderers Will Stain Him (And America) Forever
“Trump is doing his best to help the Saudi regime get away with the murder of a U.S. resident and one of the Arab world’s most prominent writers. If the administration continues down this path, it will further destroy whatever is left of America’s moral credibility on global human rights and freedom of expression.”

The Disconnect between President Trump and His Administration on Freedom of the Press
“[Vice President] Pence is a part of the Trump administration, and his statements promoting press freedom, especially his comments on the Reuters reporters and Khashoggi, are noteworthy. The State Department also has highlighted press freedom. That’s one arm of the government. But it’s impossible to ignore the elephant in the room—the man Pence and State Department officials work for.”

Why the Decline of Newspapers Is Bad for the Environment
Besides reporting on local government, community newspapers cover nearby corporations—and on the toxic emissions released by those corporations’ facilities. In doing so, journalists wield a powerful tool when it comes to forcing companies to clean up their act.


Maria Ressa Receives CPJ’s Press Freedom Award
Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa received the 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award. The Committee to Protect Journalists presents the award “to an individual who has shown extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom.”

Canadian Literary Prize Suspended after Finalists Object to Amazon Sponsorship
A much-loved Québécois literary prize has been suspended after the five finalists for this year’s award—Lula Carballo, Dominique Fortier, Karoline Georges, Kevin Lambert, and Jean-Christophe Réhel—publicly protested its sponsorship by Amazon.

Chinese Oscars: Beijing cuts live coverage after winner calls for independent Taiwan
Documentary filmmaker Fu Yue called for Taiwan to be recognized as an “independent entity” during her acceptance speech, fighting back tears as she said, “this is my biggest wish as a Taiwanese.” Her speech was quickly censored on Chinese television and streams, with the coverage going black.

Backlash at Chinese University Shows Limits to Surveillance
A Chinese university’s plan to conduct a blanket search of student and staff electronic devices has come under fire, illustrating the limits of the population’s tolerance for surveillance and raising the prospect that tactics used on Muslim minorities may be creeping into the rest of the country.

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