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PEN America files First Amendment suit against President Donald Trump, alleging that threats and acts of retaliation against journalists and media outlets suppress free speech. Google CEO defends company’s plans to reenter China, isn’t worried about what he says is just 1% of information that will be censored and suppressed from search results. Court rejects Stormy Daniels’ defamation action against Trump, saying his tweet calling her a “con” was protected political speech. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer

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

U.S.

Literary Group Sues Trump, Alleges Free Speech Stifling
In a suit filed in federal court in Manhattan, PEN America alleges that “official acts” by Trump have “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution,” citing such examples as reports that Trump was meddling in the proposed merger of AT&T and CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s anger.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Google’s CEO Says It’s Still Considering a Censored Search Engine in China
Sundar Pichai described Dragonfly, the search engine that complies with the Great Firewall, the Chinese government’s online censorship apparatus, as an exploratory internal project, adding that Google has a mission to bring information “to everyone,” and its absence from China, with 20% of the world’s population, weighed on them.
CNN

Trump Mocks Stormy Daniels’ Appearance as He Threatens To “Go After” Her
Trump threatened to “go after” Stormy Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti after a defamation lawsuit against the president was dismissed in court. Daniels sued the president after he wrote in a tweet that her story about a man threatening her to not come forward about her alleged affair with Trump was “a total con job.”
POLITICO

About 1,300 US Communities Have Totally Lost News Coverage
The UNC School of Media and Journalism study shows that 1300 communities have lost all news coverage, far more than previously known. About 70% of the newspapers that have died since 2004 were in suburban areas that historically offered many news choices, but counties with no coverage at all tend to be rural.
POYNTER

Incarcerated Pennsylvanians Now Have to Pay $150 to Read. We Should All Be Outraged.
“Access to books in prisons dramatically improves the lives of incarcerated individuals. But as of last month, if incarcerated Pennsylvanians want access to a book, they must first purchase a $147 tablet and then pay for their reading material—but only if it’s among the 8,500 titles offered to them through this new system.”
WASHINGTON POST

 
Global

Journalists Are Routinely Murdered Around the World. They Deserve Outrage Just Like Jamal Khashoggi
“Turkey’s allegation that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured, killed, and dismembered inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul did something unusual: It shocked the global conscience. That wasn’t the case for other journalists killed in the last year. Not Sandeep Sharma, not Hector Gonzalez Antonio, and not Daphne Caruana Galizia.”
LOS ANGELES TIMES

China Punishes Blogger for Disrespecting National Anthem
Shanghai police detained blogger Yang Kaili for five days, saying “was disrespectful to the dignity of the national anthem and invited disgust among netizens” in a video circulated online. Last year, China introduced a law mandating up to 15 days in police detention for those who mock the “March of the Volunteers.”
REUTERS

Bangladesh Newspaper Editors Protest Digital Security Law
Members of the Editors’ Council formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka and demanded amendments to the recently enacted Digital Security Act, saying many provisions could be used against journalists. Some editors sympathetic to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also joined the rare protest.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Xinjiang Top Official Defends Uighur “Internment Camps”
In an interview with state media, Shohrat Zakir said the “vocational education” centers were proving effective in staving off terrorism, adding that “trainees” were grateful for the opportunity to change their ways and make their lives more “colourful”. China’s massive crackdown in Xinjiang has sparked widespread alarm.
BBC NEWS

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