Department of Justice indicates that AT&T and Time Warner merger approval may be contingent on the sale of CNN, raising alarm bells that such an unusual condition for a vertical merger may relate to President Trump’s critical view of the network, raising First Amendment concerns. Air Force Academy announces that student who reported being targeted by racist graffiti had written it himself. FCC Chair Ajit Pai calls for loosening of media cross-ownership rules. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

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


Justice Department Says Not So Fast to AT&T’s Time Warner Bid
It seems that the Justice Department and AT&T will end up battling each other in court. A central component of the dispute is CNN—the network that Mr. Trump has frequently attacked as a purveyor of “fake news,” raising First Amendment concerns.

Target of Racist Graffiti Wrote It, Air Force Academy Says
“Any false reports of bias incidents are seized on by those who want to create the impression that no hate crime reporting is legitimate,” says the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Ajit Pai: Media Ownership Rules Must Adjust to the Digital Era
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is scheduled to vote at its meeting next week to repeal the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule. FCC Chair Ajit Pai calls for loosening of the cross-ownership rule.


Cheap Tricks: The Low Cost of Internet Harassment
The internet is fragile and easily exploited by hackers, trolls, criminals, creepy corporations and oppressive governments. Here’s how haters attacked three ProPublica reporters with email bombs and Twitter bots and covered their tracks.

Kennesaw State President Reverses Stance On Cheerleaders, Anthem
The president of Kennesaw State University is reversing a controversial policy. The university had barred cheerleaders from the football field after five took a knee during the “Star-Spangled Banner” on Sept. 30.

Twitter Verifies Charlottesville Rally Boss Jason Kessler, Who Called Slain Protester’s Death ‘Payback Time’
Twitter gave a verified check mark to Jason Kessler, the creator of the white supremacist Charlottesville rally. Kessler’s new verified status comes just 26 days after CEO Jack Dorsey recommitted to eliminating “hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence” from its platform.


Vietnam Government Claims to Work with Google and Facebook to Remove Thousands of Anti-government Content
Vietnam’s head of the Internet management authority, Nguyen Thanh Lam, has repeatedly claimed that the government has been working with Facebook and Google to remove thousands of videos and accounts from these tech giants’ platforms. Mr. Lam noted that it had been easier to convince Youtube than Facebook.

Ex-Obama Spokesman: ‘Embarrassing’ for Trump to Not Take Reporters’ Questions in China
Jay Carney, a former spokesman for President Obama called it “embarrassing” that President Trump declined to take questions from reporters during his first visit to China. He tweeted, “The Chinese try this every time. It’s a test of will and principle. Letting them dictate press access is an embarrassing capitulation.”

Freedom of Speech & Expression in Peril
Tamil cartoonist, G Bala, was arrested for posting a cartoon on his web portal. It is feared that there is a serious threat to the freedom of expression from the governments that are showing increasing intolerance towards social media posts.

Xinjiang Authorities Jail Uyghur ‘Religious Extremist’ For Scolding Son For Drinking
Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang province have sentenced a 67-year-old ethnic Uyghur Muslim to ten years in prison for “religious extremism,” more than a decade after he scolded his son for breaking Islamic custom by drinking alcohol.

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