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Conservative allies of President Trump are trying to raise $2 million to investigate journalists and editors of several outlets, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and others. (See PEN America’s statement about this campaign against the media and our lawsuit against the president for his retaliation of the press). YouTube says it has removed more than 100,000 videos, 500 million comments, and 17,000 channels that qualify as hate speech under its new policy to limit supremacist and bigoted content. A Harvard student previously denied entry into the US allowed to enter and begin classes on campus. (See PEN America’s statement last week voicing concern for immigration officials’ decision to revoke the student’s visa). Catholic school in Tennessee bans Harry Potter books for elementary and middle school students, claiming the books’ spells and curses are real.
Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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

U.S.

Trump Allies Raise Money to Target Reporters
President Trump’s political allies are trying to raise at least $2 million to investigate reporters and editors of The New York Times, the Washington Post and other outlets, according to a three-page fundraising pitch reviewed by Axios.
AXIOS

YouTube Says It Has Removed More than 100K Videos under New Hate Speech Rules
The video-sharing giant said it removed more than 17,000 channels and 100,000 videos for violating its hate speech policy between April and June, a five-time increase in the number of removals in the first three months of the year.
THE HILL

Harvard Student Who Was Denied Entry into US Makes It to Campus in Time for Start of Classes
Ismail Ajjawi, a 17-year-old Palestinian student who lives in Lebanon, had a valid visa to study in the United States but was put on a flight back home after being questioned by immigration officials at Logan. He was reportedly turned away because of political posts his friends made on social media that were critical of the United States, and the Department of Homeland Security said he was deemed inadmissible and his visa was canceled.
BOSTON GLOBE

Catholic School Bans Harry Potter Books, Claiming Its Spells And Curses Are Real
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books have been pulled from the library at St. Edward School in Nashville, Tennessee after one of the school’s pastors claimed the spells and curses in the fictional children’s series are legitimate and could present problems for Pre-K through eighth grade students who read the books.
HUFFINGTON POST


Global

Internet Shutdown in Papua Threatens Indonesia’s Democracy and Right to Free Speech
The Indonesian government has blocked internet access for a second time this year as it deployed security forces to the country’s easternmost provinces following days of violent protests there.
THE JAKARTA POST

Russian Blogger Jailed For Five Years Over ‘Snuff Movie Threat’ Tweet
Russian blogger Vladislav Sinitsa has been sentenced to five years in jail after posting a tweet that said the children of police could be targeted in “snuff videos” as three more Kremlin critics were charged with organizing an illegal protest.
THE GUARDIAN

Missing Maldives Journalist Killed by Al-Qaeda Affiliate
Journalist Ahmed Rilwan went missing in the Maldives five years ago. Findings from an investigation show Rilwan was killed by a local affiliate of al-Qaeda, publicly acknowledging for the first time the hardline group’s existence and efforts to silence liberal voices in the Indian Ocean island nation.
ALJAZEERA

Messaging App Telegram Moves to Protect Identity of Hong Kong Protesters
Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging app, will allow users to cloak their telephone numbers to safeguard Hong Kong protesters against monitoring by authorities, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.
REUTERS

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