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Within hours the New Yorker Festival announces Steve Bannon as a headliner and then cancels his appearance after other festival participants, writers, and staff protest and withdraw from the event. Bannon decries the decision as “gutless”. Private Facebook pages provide ample opportunity for Alex Jones’ Infowars and other controversial voices to skirt the platform’s rules. Facebook propaganda aimed to sow divisions can be virtually impossible to distinguish from bona fide posts. NBC News boss Andy Lack denies claims that network suppressed reporting by Ronan Farrow on #MeToo. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer


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


Steve Bannon: New Yorker Editor ‘Gutless’ for Canceling His Interview
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon called New Yorker editor “gutless” for uninviting him from the magazine’s annual festival after it faced backlash from celebrities who said they would cancel their appearances if Bannon showed up.

Fringe Figures Find Refuge in Facebook’s Private Groups
Much of the empire built by Alex Jones, the Infowars founder and social media shock jock, vanished this summer. But a private Infowars Facebook group with more than 110,000 members, which had survived the crackdown, remained a hive of activity.

Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post?
The latest influence campaigns, specifically targetting Americans with divisive messages, imitate posts by legitimate Facebook pages that advocate political beliefs, making it difficult to tell what is a genuine post and what is not.

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack Fights Back Against Criticism of its Handling of Harvey Weinstein Story
NBC News Chairman Andy Lack issued a strongly worded defense of his network’s decision not to air journalist Ronan Farrow’s investigation of alleged sexual harassment, assault, and rape by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

OPINION: It’s Time for the Press to Stop Complaining—And to Start Fighting Back
“There’s a new kind of campaign underway, one that most of my colleagues and I have never publicly reported on, never fully analyzed, and never fully acknowledged: the campaign to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media.”


‘A Blow to Press Freedom’: World Reacts to Jailing of Reuters Journalists in Myanmar *PEN Case List
The seven-year jail sentence handed down to two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims was condemned worldwide as a travesty of justice and severe blow to press freedom.

Russia ‘Does Not Value Human Life’, Says Ukrainian FM Amid Prisoner Exchange Row *PEN Case List
Efforts to free hunger striker Oleg Sentsov are stalling because the Kremlin “doesn’t value human life”, Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin has said. “It’s two fundamentally different worlds… the Kremlin does not seem to care for its people.”

Brazil Museum Fire: Funding Cuts Blamed as Icon is Gutted
Officials in Brazil have blamed lack of funding for a huge fire that has ravaged the country’s National Museum. One of the largest anthropology and natural history collections in the Americas was almost totally destroyed in Sunday’s fire.

As #MeToo Unnerves China, a Student Fights to Tell Her Story
“The authorities’ resolve to silence her only grew with her efforts… ‘Everyone lied to us… ‘It’s because our family has no money or power—if we did, things wouldn’t have reached this stage.’ School officials declined repeated requests to comment.”

Germany Increases Surveillance of a Far-Right Party After March Draws Neo-Nazis
German authorities said they’re stepping up surveillance of the far-right amid growing concern the third-largest party in parliament is closing ranks with extremist groups. “We need to treat them like other enemies of the Constitution.”

A Facebook War: Libyans Battle on the Streets and on Screens
When a new bout of fighting between rival militias engulfed the Libyan capital, badly shaking the fragile U.N.-backed government, some combatants picked up rifles and rocket launchers and headed into the streets. Others logged on to Facebook.

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