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Trump Administration reported to be considering dramatic roll back in recognition and civil rights protection of transgender people. Saudi government retracts earlier statements and admits journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in consulate in Istanbul, but gives absurd explanation; Turkish president says he will reveal the details from his country’s investigation (see PEN America’s statement). Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, the award-winning Mexican journalist threatened with deportation by the Trump Administration, faces hearing. Fact-checking journalists tally presidential falsehoods on nonexistent voter fraud, tax cut plan, jobs related to Saudi arms deals, and more. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration
The move would be the most significant of a series of maneuvers to exclude the population from civil rights protections. The Trump administration has sought to bar transgender people from serving in the military and has legally challenged civil rights protections for the group embedded in the nation’s health care law.

Khashoggi death: Saudi Arabia says journalist was murdered
The Saudis, under intense pressure to explain Khashoggi’s whereabouts, have offered conflicting accounts. Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the building and say they have evidence to prove it.

Carl Bernstein says Trump uses ‘lying and untruth as a basic method’
Trump tweeted on Saturday night that “all levels of government and law enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD,” even though cases of voter fraud are vanishingly rare. “Cheat at your own peril,” he said, even though his own voter fraud commission was dissolved in January.

AP Fact Check: Trump inflates jobs impact of Saudi arms deal
President Donald Trump inflated the projected benefits of an arms deal with the Saudis as he defended his wait-and-see attitude about Saudi complicity in the disappearance of a journalist whose apparent murder has sparked world outrage.

Let’s Agree Not to Kill One Another
“I thought I was inured to social media abuse. But this was something new: a calm public discussion about how to find me and what to do to me. Threatening to kill or rape someone shouldn’t be banal. It should shock everyone who comes across such a threat. And that should go without saying, except that increasingly it doesn’t.”


Turkey should look to its own brutal treatment of journalists
The scale of repression is shocking. Since a state of emergency was imposed after the failed coup of July 2016, Turkish authorities have detained more than 142,000 people. Almost 200 media outlets have been shut down and at least 319 journalists arrested. Of all journalists arrested worldwide in 2017, almost a third were in Turkey.

Appeals court upholds that police raid of journalist’s home was lawful
Last year, police carried out a search of the home of Laura Halminen, a journalist who helped create a report about the Defence Forces’ Intelligence Research Centre that included information from leaked classified materials. The raid contributed to Finland’s sliding down the Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index this year.

Russian Oligarch Funded ‘Troll Farm’ To Interfere In 2018 Midterm Elections: Feds
Federal prosecutors, who said they received “exceptional cooperation” from Facebook and Twitter, said the campaign focused on “a wide variety of topics, including immigration, gun control and the Second Amendment, the Confederate flag, race relations, LGBT issues, the Women’s March, and the NFL national anthem debate.”

Egypt and Thailand: When the Military Turns Against Free Speech
“The fact that there may have been more prosecutions in Egypt and Thailand this year doesn’t tell the whole story. Egypt and Thailand are operating at a lower level of sophistication and have a strong and active civil society—which means people there still see a bigger opening and haven’t become completely self-censoring.”

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