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Cohen investigation looks at whether tabloid publisher America Media Inc., in buying rights but not publishing potentially damaging stories, acted as political supporter, and whether First Amendment protections should apply. The Atlantic examines White House press secretary’s performance one year into her tenure. Widely followed New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman steps away from Twitter as too toxic, and Twitter founder acknowledges “lots of work still to do”. Targeted by online harassment or know someone who is? See PEN America’s Online Field Harassment Manual for help. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

 

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

U.S.

Tabloid Company, Aiding Trump Campaign, May Have Crossed Line Into Politics
Federal authorities examining the Cohen did to squelch embarrassing stories before the 2016 election have come to believe that an important ally in that effort, American Media Inc., at times acted more as a political supporter than as a news organization.
NEW YORK TIMES

The World Burns. Sarah Sanders Says This is Fine.
Sanders, on behalf of the president she works for takes for granted an assumption that would be shocking were it not so common in the American culture of the early 21st century: There are things that are more important than truth.
ATLANTIC

Maggie Haberman: Why I Needed to Pull Back From Twitter
“I had complained to a close friend that I hated being on Twitter… I couldn’t turn off the noise. She asked what was the worst that could happen if I stepped away from it. There was nothing I could think of. And so just after 6 p.m. last Sunday, I did.”
NEW YORK TIMES

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Admits Platform Not a Place for ‘Nuanced Discussion’ as Top ‘New York Times’ Reporter Quits After Abuse
“We haven’t paid enough consistent attention here.” Dorsey admitted the platform is no longer a place where nuanced or thoughtful discussion can take place, after a leading political reporter quit the “anger video game” after constant attacks.
INDEPENDENT

 
Global

Russia, Accused of Faking News, Unfurls Its Own ‘Fake News’ Bill
Russia says it will crack down on “fake news” at home, with a proposed law that critics say could limit freedom of speech on the internet. The bill proposes holding social networks accountable for “inaccurate” comments users post.
NEW YORK TIMES

Vietnam’s Censorship Expands to Popular, Official News Website
Vietnam’s suspension of Tuoi Tre, a popular news website known for hard-hitting stories, is the latest move in a burgeoning effort to limit expression. The suspension follows the passage of a cyber-security law governing internet use.
VOICE OF AMERICA

Hong Kong Journalism Watchdog Condemns Police Use of Media Reports to Justify Pro-Independence Party Ban
The Hong Kong Journalists Association has raised concerns over the police use of media reports in a dossier used to justify a potential ban on the pro-independence party. “We maintain freedom of the press and expression should not be undermined.”
HONG KONG FREE PRESS

Cambodia’s Opposition Candidates Swim Against the Tide in Election Panned as a Sham
The U.S. and the E.U. have withdrawn financial support the polls—which they have provided for previous elections—over concern that the vote will not be credible. Cambodia, observers say, is slipping steadily toward authoritarianism.
TIME

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