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Robert Bernstein, longtime chairman of Random House and founder of Human Rights Watch, has died. A new survey finds press freedoms for Native American tribe-owned media are lower than expected. Trump Administration officials push to change or abandon key methods of climate change monitoring and reporting efforts. Universities struggle to find the right approach toward buildings named after racists. The Texas Secretary of State resigns, months after wrongly misidentifying thousands of naturalized citizens as illegally registered noncitizens. -James Tager, Deputy Director of Free Expression Policy and Research

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


Robert L. Bernstein, Publisher and Champion of Dissent, Dies at 96
Robert Bernstein, who built Random House into an international publishing giant and championed political dissent, freedom of expression, and relief for oppressed peoples as the founder of Human Rights Watch, died on Monday in Manhattan.

Survey Finds Few Tribal Governments Allow Press Freedom
“The majority of [Native American] newspaper and radio stations are owned by tribal governments. That is problematic because ownership means tribal leaders can, and often do, control content. In a 2018 NAJA press freedom survey, 83 percent of respondents said stories about tribal government affairs sometimes, frequently or always go unreported due to censorship.”

Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science
“Parts of the federal government will no longer fulfill what scientists say is one of the most urgent jobs of climate science studies: reporting on the future effects of a rapidly warming planet and presenting a picture of what the earth could look like by the end of the century if the global economy continues to emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels.”

When the Names on Campus Buildings Evoke a Racist Past
The debate continues at many universities over whether the names of prominent racists and others who espoused contentious theories should be allowed to remain on campus buildings and structures. In response, institutions have begun to set up task forces to examine their histories and set standards for the future.

Texas Secretary of State Resigns after Leading Botched Voter Purge That Questioned the Citizenship of Almost 100,000 People
Texas’s acting secretary of state, David Whitley (R), resigned months after leading the botched voter purge of nearly 100,000 suspected noncitizens that erroneously also targeted U.S. citizens, efforts that drew rebukes from a federal judge and numerous voter rights groups.


‘The Hunting Has Been Accelerated’: Arrests, Killings Strike Fear in Thailand’s Dissidents
Surachai Danwattananusorn remains missing and is feared dead—the most prominent of a wave of exiles who have been arrested, abducted, disappeared, or killed in recent months in a shadowy crackdown against critics of the twin pillars of Thailand’s establishment: the monarchy and military.

Minister Tells Indonesians to Uninstall VPNs
Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara has called Indonesians to uninstall virtual private networks (VPN) from their devices after the government ended its move to limit the use of social media in response to post-election riots.

Myanmar Soldiers Jailed for Killing Rohingya Served Less Time in Prison Than the Journalists Who Exposed Them
Seven Myanmar soldiers who were jailed for killing 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys were released early, ultimately serving less time than Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the two journalists who exposed their crimes.

China’s Robot Censors Crank up as Tiananmen Anniversary Nears
Censors at Chinese internet companies say tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.

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