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Book clubs become campaign stops for 2020 presidential hopefuls. Amazon shareholders vote down proposal to reconsider how the company sells surveillance technology to governments. Poster on podium at an impromptu press conference held by President Trump in the White House’s Rose Garden found to contain numerous falsehoods. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


In Iowa, Even a Book Club Is a 2020 Campaign Stop
“It’s that exposure to potential caucus-goers that’s making the candidates take notice of the book club. The group now has 800 members—about 500 of which are in-state. Two of the first three candidates on the reading list, including [Julian] Castro, appeared in person to take questions from the group. The third, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) answered questions from the club over the phone.”

Jake Tapper Fact-Checks Poster Trump Admin Created Describing Mueller Investigation
CNN host Jake Tapper fact-checked what he called “lies” and “flat-out misleading” statistics displayed on a sign President Trump used to complement his criticism of Democrats and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Amazon Investors Reject Proposals on Climate Change and Facial Recognition
Amazon said its shareholders had voted down proposals that would have pushed the company to reconsider its societal impact in two key areas: facial recognition and climate change. The proposals asked Amazon to develop a more comprehensive approach to reducing its carbon footprint and put the brakes on how the company sells surveillance technologies to governments.

Republicans and Democrats Agree: It’s Time to Regulate Facial Recognition Tech
At a congressional hearing, Republican and Democratic leaders discussed growing concerns over the use of facial recognition software by law enforcement. In an unusual show of bipartisanship, both parties agreed it was time to take a hard look at the technology and potentially draft legislation to regulate it.


Myanmar Filmmaker in Court Amid Freedom of Expression Clampdown
Myanmar filmmaker and activist Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi appeared in a Yangon court on charges of defaming the powerful military, one of a number of activists arrested in recent weeks as rights groups slam mounting assaults on free expression.

Journalists for the New York Times Leave Colombia after Being Attacked Online by Public Officials
A reporter and photojournalist who work for The New York Times in Colombia left the country after being targeted with stigmatizing remarks from congress members of the ruling party and online harassment in response to an article published in the newspaper regarding the Colombian Armed Forces.

Chinese Authorities Have Detained an Activist Filmmaker for Posting a Picture Referencing the Tiananmen Square Massacre
Chinese authorities have detained Deng Chuanbin, an independent filmmaker and activist also known as Huang Huang, for tweeting a photo alluding to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

A Dublin Janitor Wins the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature from the University She Cleans
Trinity College Dublin presented Caitríona Lally last week with the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, one of Ireland’s most prestigious literary honors. The prize committee praised her book, “Eggshells,” as “a work of impressive imaginative reach, witty, subtle and occasionally endearingly unpredictable.” For the past three and a half years, Lally has worked as a janitor at the college.

Prominent French Journalist Summoned by Police for Reporting on Corruption in Macron’s Government
Ariane Chemin, a senior correspondent for Le Monde who has written extensively on a corruption scandal involving French President Emmanuel Macron, has been summoned by police for questioning, the newspaper said.

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