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Federal judge orders reinstatement of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials pulled by the White House. (See PEN America statement.) Trump administration announces sanctions against 17 people implicated by Saudi Arabia in the killing of journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, but leaves untouched the country’s top officials in seeming acceptance of their version of events. An inadvertent mention in unrelated court filings shows the Justice Department has filed secret criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Fallout from revelations about Facebook’s efforts to discredit its critics continues. (See PEN America statement.) Local journalists in California report on the wildfires consuming their own communities. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Judge Orders White House to Return Jim Acosta’s Press Pass
Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly sided with CNN on Friday, ordering the White House to reinstate chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass. The ruling was an initial victory for CNN in its lawsuit against President Trump and several top aides.

Julian Assange Is Secretly Charged in U.S., Prosecutors Mistakenly Reveal
The Justice Department has secretly filed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, a drastic escalation of the government’s yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group.

No One at Facebook Seems to Know Who Hired a D.C. Opposition Research Firm
A New York Times investigation revealed this week that Facebook had hired an opposition research and consulting firm called Definers Public Affairs, which had created deceptive news posts and pushed them onto a network of conservative websites. Now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he has no idea who hired them.

As City Burns around It, a Newspaper Staff Rises to Cover Unspeakable Tragedy
For several days after the fire started, two employees were missing. Both were found alive and well. Throughout it all, veteran journalist David Little’s staff continued to perform at the highest of levels. Informing the community in times of crisis is why many of them got into the business after all.


U.S., Saudi Steps in Khashoggi Case Don’t Go Far Enough, Lawmakers Say *PEN Case List: Find Out More
Imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act, which empowers the United States to sanction human rights abusers abroad, the sanctions freeze any assets of the designated Saudis that are under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit Americans from dealings with the 17 implicated in Khashoggi’s murder.

Bangladesh: Jailed Photographer Shahidul Alam Granted Bail *PEN Case List: Find Out More
A court in Bangladesh has granted bail to Shahidul Alam, an award-winning photographer who was arrested after he gave media interviews about student protests that gripped the country. Alam’s lawyer said that since the next two days are the weekend, they hope to get him released by Sunday.
*See PEN America’s statement in response to the news here

Students at Chinese University of Hong Kong Use Graduation Ceremony for Protest against Activist Jailings
Students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong used their graduation ceremony to protest against the jailing of local democracy activists and an incoming law regulating use of the national anthem.

Nigerian Police Say False Information on Facebook Is Killing People
Nigerian police say false information and incendiary images on Facebook have contributed to more than a dozen recent killings in the Plateau State. Facebook’s third-party fact-checking partners in Nigeria have committed just four full-time fact checkers to review false information.

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