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Representative Tlaib of Michigan rejects Israeli offer to allow her to visit family on the West Bank, following two days of back and forth in which President Trump called for Israel to block the visit due to her views, including on boycotts of Israel. (See PEN America’s statement on the president’s retaliation against Representatives Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.) Instagram creates ability for U.S. users to report what they believe to be false content, in effort to curb the spread of misinformation. (See PEN America’s recent report on the use of fraudulent news and its effect on election cycles.) Freedom of information request reveals close relationship between members of Fox News and members of the Treasury Department. Advertisers increasingly insist their ads do not appear near articles or videos that contain a list of key phrases, including ‘shooting,’ ‘bomb,’ ‘Trump,’ or ‘racism.’ -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Rep. Rashida Tlaib Rejects Israeli Offer to Visit West Bank Family
Her announcement capped off two days of back-and-forth, with Israel on Thursday saying it would bar Ms. Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar from the country because of their support for boycotting Israel. Israel had said last month it would allow the Congresswomen to visit but reversed course after pressure from President Trump.

Instagram to Let U.S. Users Report False Content
Instagram is adding an option for users to report posts they think are false, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site has announced, as it tries to stem misinformation and other abuses.

‘You’re the Man’: Fox News Emails with Trump Treasury Department Reveal Coziness
A trove of Treasury Department emails released to the non-profit organization Democracy Forward and provided exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter this week paint a picture of a close, friendly bond between the Trump administration agency and two news organizations, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.

‘Shooting,’ ‘Bomb,’ ‘Trump’: Advertisers Blacklist News Stories Online
Big advertisers have been burned several times in recent years when their digital ads appeared next to offensive content, including fabricated news articles, hateful or racist videos on YouTube, and pornographic material.


The Global Gag on Free Speech Is Tightening
Last year 25 governments imposed internet blackouts. Choking off connectivity infuriates people and kneecaps economies. Yet autocrats think it worthwhile, usually to stop information from circulating during a crisis.

U.S. Journalist Fined and Deported for Interviewing Russian Environmental Asylum Seekers
Alina Simone was sued by the mayor of the coal-mining town of Kiselyovsk after she was spotted filming residents who made headlines in June for asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for asylum. She was alleged to have interviewed the environmental asylum seekers while on a tourist visa.

Call for Caution over Fake News, as Online Claims Emerge of Pro-Democracy Figures Leaving Hong Kong Due to Fears of Military Crackdown
Hong Kong lawmakers and commentators have called for caution over fake news after online claims emerged of several pro-democracy figures leaving the city because they feared a Chinese military crackdown. Three of the four explained that they had left the city for personal or business reasons, while one is still in the city.

Journalist Detained in Kashmir; Family in the Dark about Charges
Irfan Amin Malik, a journalist who works for Greater Kashmia, a local daily in Kashmir, was detained in a late night raid at his home in Tral town of Pulwama, his family said. He was picked up by security forces at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

India to Ease Restrictions in Kashmir after Protests, and Economy, Slow
India’s government said it would begin to relax communications and other restrictions in the disputed northern state of Jammu and Kashmir after initiating the curbs last week in what the government claimed was a bid to prevent unrest.

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