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At the White House briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls for an investigation into the anonymous New York Times op-ed writer. As the nationwide prison strikes came to an end on Sunday, commentators opine on the limited news coverage the strikes and protests received. Federal court in Missouri upholds ruling in favor of donations between political action committees, or PACs, arguing that the state ban on this violated the PACs’ First Amendment rights. The United States considers imposing sanctions against Chinese officials for human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel writes on the impact of Google’s collaboration with the Chinese government on a censored version of its search engine. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Sarah Sanders Calls for Investigation into Anonymous Op-Ed Author
Sarah Sanders said that the US Department of Justice should “look into” the writer’s identity, but declined to say whether the White House was actively hunting for the culprit, described as a senior administration official whose identity is known to the New York Times. She also attacked Fear author Bob Woodward’s credibility during the White House press briefing.

Why Did the National Prison Strike Float Under the Nation’s Radar?
“Past prisoner actions, most notably the 1971 Attica Prison riot in upstate New York, whose 47th anniversary was marked on Sunday, have garnered major headlines. So why did this one float beneath the nation’s radar?”

Federal judges: Missouri PAC Donation Ban Unconstitutional
A federal appeals court upheld a ruling in favor of allowing donations between Missouri political action committees, arguing that a state ban on the practice unconstitutionally violates the groups’ First Amendment rights. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges wrote in the ruling that “like individuals, PACs enjoy the right to freedom of speech and association.”

U.S. Weighs Sanctions Against Chinese Officials Over Muslim Detention Camps
The economic penalties would be one of the first times the Trump administration has taken action against China because of human rights violations. US officials are also seeking to limit American sales of surveillance technology that Chinese security agencies and companies are using to monitor Uighurs throughout northwest China.


Google is Handing the Future of the Internet to China
“Leaked plans for Google’s aspiring re-entry into China are troubling. So-called “sensitive queries” will be placed on a “blacklist,” meaning that people, topics, and photographs banned by the government will be expunged from any appearance via Google.”

Sentsov Writes Will, Losing Hope of Release *PEN Case List
Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov wrote a will regarding his artwork, his cousin Natalia Kaplan wrote on Facebook. According to reports, “He wrote a will regarding his artwork in the event of his death, and this is very frightening”.

U.N. Presses Iran to Free Princeton Scholar
Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University graduate student, was detained in Iran in 2016. A United Nations rights panel has issued a strongly worded opinion calling on Iran to immediately release an American scholar imprisoned two years ago while doing historical research that the Iranian authorities had approved.

‘Crazy Accusations’: Two Pussy Riot Members Arrested in Moscow
Veronika Nikulshina and friend were detained by Moscow Police regarding supposed refusal for “terrorist” check of their car. The Russian punk activist group Pussy Riot claim arrests continue as punishment for their World Cup pitch invasion protest.

Saudi Arabia to Punish Online Satire ‘Mocking Public Order’
Legal repercussions for political satire appear to be intensifying in Saudi Arabia, targeting anti-government activists. Saudi prosecutors say they will punish satire on social media that “mocks, provokes or disrupts public order, religious values and public morals”.

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