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Reporters Without Borders releases its World Press Freedom Index today, noting that the United States has become a ‘particularly problematic’ place to be a journalist. Facebook uploads email contacts of up to 1.5 million users without their consent. Attorney General William Barr releases redacted version of the Mueller report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, saying that while there have been ‘episodes’ involving President Trump that could amount to obstruction of justice, they do not amount to a violation of the law. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


The U.S. Is Now a ‘Noticeably Problematic’ Place to Be a Journalist, Report Shows
The United States has slipped three places to 48 out of 180 countries in the ranking, published today by the organization Reporters Without Borders. The report cites the June 2018 killing of five people who worked for the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, as a factor in the country’s reduced press status, and noted President Donald Trump’s continued attacks on the media.

Facebook Uploaded Email Contacts of 1.5m Users without Consent
Facebook has admitted to “unintentionally” uploading the address books of 1.5 million users without consent, and says it will delete the collected data and notify those affected. The issue was first noticed in early April, when the Daily Beast reported on Facebook’s practice of asking for email passwords to verify new users.

White House and Justice Dept. Officials Discussed Mueller Report Before Release
A sense of paranoia was taking hold among some of Mr. Trump’s aides, some of whom fear his backlash more than the findings themselves, the people said. The report might make clear which of Mr. Trump’s current and former advisers spoke to the special counsel, how much they said and how much damage they did to the president—providing a kind of road map for retaliation.

15 Months of Fresh Hell inside Facebook
“It’s going to take real time to go backwards and figure out everything that could have happened,” said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Scandals. Backstabbing. Resignations. Record profits. Time Bombs. In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook. Here’s how that turned out.


Opinion: Is Assange a Journalist? It Depends What Year You Ask
When Assange founded WikiLeaks [in 2006], its mission was to expose authoritarian governments. … WikiLeaks published all kinds of damaging information against all kinds of targets, from Somali Islamists to the Chinese government. Much of it was in the public interest. … By 2016 though, WikiLeaks was not so much a publisher as it was a combatant in information warfare.”

Calls to Pressure Israel to Release 22 Palestinian Journalists
The Journalist Support Committee issued a report as part of a package of activities to mark Palestine Prisoners Day, stating that there are 22 Palestinian journalists currently in Israeli jails, including three females. According to the JSC, the prisoners are subject to “flagrant systematic violations” inside Israeli jails such as administrative detention and martial trials.

Jailed Iranian Journalist Gets Appeal Hearing after Months of Isolation
An Iranian court has held an appeal hearing for Hengameh Shahidi, a jailed Iranian journalist and rights activist who faces a 12-year prison sentence for her social media criticisms of Iran’s judiciary.

Pakistan Extends Bail for Journalist Accused of ‘Cyberterrorism’
A Pakistani court has extended the bail of Shahzeb Jillani, a journalist accused of “cyberterrorism” for recent news coverage of enforced disappearances, in a case the rights group Reporters Without Borders claimed “has been designed to intimidate and silence Pakistan’s journalists.”

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