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Supreme Court considers whether to allow lawsuits that claim abuse of police power in retaliation for exercising free speech rights. Oregon-based paper Malheur Enterprise bucks the trend and thrives with a focus on local news, providing template for similar newspapers serving rural counties. Ahead of run-off election marked by racial tensions, nooses are found hanging on the grounds of the Mississippi state capitol. Google employees publish open letter opposing plans for a censored search engine in China. Facebook faces fresh rebuke from regulators in nine countries including Canada, France, and the United Kingdom over the spread of misleading content and fake news on its platform. Study finds that civil rights are ‘under serious attack’ around the world. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Supreme Court Considers a Thorny Question of Free Speech and Police Power
The Supreme Court considered whether to allow lawsuits claiming abuse of police power in retaliation for exercising free speech rights. The case concerned a claim for retaliatory arrest at a festival in a remote part of Alaska, but several justices seemed to have an array of controversies in mind.

Digging Deep Into Local News, A Small Newspaper In Rural Oregon Is Thriving
The Malheur Enterprise was founded in 1909, and, like many other newspapers, was languishing. But in the past few years, its circulation has surged and it has won several national awards. Perhaps surprisingly, the weekly paper’s turnaround and increased popularity happened in a part of the state that strongly supports President Trump, who continues to lash out at the media.

Nooses Found Hanging on Grounds of Mississippi State Capitol
A day before a runoff U.S. Senate election and as Donald Trump prepared to visit the state to stage two rallies, nooses and six hate signs were found on the grounds of the Mississippi capitol.

Google Employees: We No Longer Believe the Company Places Values over Profits
Google employees wrote an open letter calling on Google to cancel Project Dragonfly, an effort to create a censored search engine for China. Project Dragonfly has drawn criticism from human rights groups and U.S. politicians since details of the effort leaked this summer.

For the First Time, a Black Woman Will Lead The Harvard Crimson
Kristine Guillaume will lead The Harvard Crimson’s “146th guard,” making her the third black president and first black woman to helm the organization since its founding in 1873. Writers and editors at The Crimson have gone on to be presidents (J.F.K., F.D.R.), tech billionaires (Steve Ballmer, former chief executive of Microsoft), and news media bosses (Jeff Zucker, head of CNN).


Civil Rights ‘under Serious Attack’ across the Globe
A new report by Civicus Monitor, an alliance of civil society groups, found that fundamental rights—such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly—were under attack in 111 of 196 countries.

George Soros’s Open Society Foundations to Pull out of Turkey
George Soros’s Open Society Foundations group has said it will cease operations in Turkey, days after the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accused the billionaire philanthropist of trying to divide and destroy nations.

Press Freedom in Question in New Row over Encryption Law
The federal government is being urged to redraft its new surveillance laws in order to protect press freedom. The draft encryption law enables police and other agencies to extract information from systems such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger, provoking new warnings that this will lead to unchecked monitoring of the media.

UAE Called on to Release Dozens of Free Speech Campaigners after U.K. Academic’s Pardon
Rights groups are calling on the United Arab Emirates to release dozens of prisoners of conscience imprisoned in the country following the pardon of British academic Matthew Hedges yesterday.

Facebook Faces Fresh Lashing from Nine Countries for Its Inability to Stop the Spread of Fake News
The series of rebukes—delivered at a rare joint hearing featuring policymakers around the world—reflected the vast magnitude of growing global unease with Facebook’s business practices and mounting frustration with the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, who declined to appear in front of lawmakers and address those criticisms directly.

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