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Trump Administration Justice Department backs baker in Supreme Court case testing whether religious freedom can justify refusal to comply with state laws barring discrimination against LGBT individuals. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy signs stay of appeals court order that would bar temporarily implementation of Trump refugee ban pending a high court ruling. New Yale study indicates that Facebook fact-checking efforts to combat fake news don’t work. Russians used Facebook during election to marshal anti-immigrant rallies. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

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


Trump admin backs Colorado baker who refused to make cake for same-sex wedding
The Trump administration is backing a Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for the wedding of a same-sex couple. The case pits advocates for religious liberty against supporters of LGBT rights.

Supreme Court justice temporarily preserves Trump refugee ban
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy provided a temporary reprieve for President Trump’s order blocking most refugees from entering the United States, putting on hold a lower court’s ruling loosening the prohibition.

Tagging fake news on Facebook doesn’t work, study says
The Yale study found that tagging false news stories as “disputed by third party fact-checkers” has only a small impact on whether readers perceive their headlines as true. The “disputed” tags made participants just 3.7 percent more likely to correctly judge headlines as false.

Exclusive: Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on U.S. Soil
Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s event management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the United States, including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho.


Violence in Northwest Myanmar Sparks an Information War Online with Anti-Rohingya Hate Speech and Fake Photos
Although hate speech propaganda and fake news photos have plagued Myanmar’s online space for years, it became heavily violent again after August 25. These tensions have generated an “information war” online with malicious propaganda seeking to re-frame the dominant international narrative about the conflict.

Turks detained for using encrypted app ‘had human rights breached’
A legal opinion study published in London argues that the arrest of 75,000 suspects primarily because they downloaded the ByLock app is arbitrary and illegal. It concludes that the cases presented so far breach the European convention on human rights, which Turkey is signed up to.

Azeri court releases head of independent Azeri news agency
An Azeri court released Mehman Aliyev, the head of Turan news agency, from pre-trial detention but said an investigation of him can continue, in a case condemned by human rights activists. “I consider this decision as positive … I‘m glad that mistake has been amended,” Aliyev said.

DSS operatives brutalise journalists in Osun
Three operatives of the Department of State Services in Osun State brutalised and threatened to shoot two journalists covering a protest by the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees on the premises of the Osun State House of Assembly.

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