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Attorney General Jeff Sessions tells Congress that there are 27 open Justice Department investigations into leaks to reporters. The first trials begin for people arrested during protests at President Trump’s inaugural. Robocalls reported with voice impersonating Washington Post reporter with fake offer to pay for damaging information about Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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

U.S.

Leak Investigations Rise 800% Under Jeff Sessions
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte asked Sessions about efforts to crack down on the unlawful release of classified information to reporters. Sessions said the Justice Department currently has 27 open investigations into these matters. He added that in the previous three years, there have been a total of nine such investigations.
THE DAILY BEAST

Alabama robocall claims to be Post reporter asking for Roy Moore information
At least one person in the Montgomery, Alabama area reports receiving a robocall pretending to be a Washington Post reporter seeking damaging information about Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
CBS NEWS

More Than 200 People Were Arrested On Trump’s Inauguration Day. The First Trial Starts Today.
Prosecutors have denied any political motivation, maintaining that the stiff charges are tied to the level of the property destruction and violence in downtown Washington on January 20. But for anti-Trump activists and free speech advocates, the cases represent a push by the Trump administration to quash dissent and send a chilling message to would-be protesters.
BUZZFEED NEWS

Net neutrality fight is about to flare again
The FCC, under Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, is readying a final order that will spell out how thoroughly it intends to roll back the 2015 net neutrality order, which requires internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast to treat all web traffic equally. The release could come as early as next week.
POLITICO

 
Global

Africa’s largest TV platform has a growing free speech and censorship problem
Africa’s largest television platform has pulled a talk show after it asked questions about police brutality and media freedom in Zambia. Radio and television promos for “Talk With Kwangu” were pulled off air after they featured a sound bite from the wife of Zambia’s opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema.
QUARTZ AFRICA

U.N. rights panel questions Japanese media freedom and state secrets law
The United States called on Japan to establish an independent media supervisory institution, saying it is worried about the current regulatory framework, including the Broadcast Act, which gives the government authority to stop broadcasts. Australia and Brazil also showed concern over the level of media independence.
JAPAN TIMES

Greece frees Dutch TV journalist after Turkish border arrest
Judicial authorities in northern Greece say an investigative journalist for Dutch television has been released from custody after appearing in court for entering a restricted military area without permission.
WASHINGTON POST

Russia to register international media as ‘foreign agents’
Russia’s lower house of parliament has unanimously approved a bill allowing the government to register international media outlets as “foreign agents,” days after the US demanded the same of the Russian state-funded RT television channel.
THE GUARDIAN

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