DARE: Trump Condemns Attacks on Media after BBC Incident
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President Trump’s spokesperson says he ‘condemns violence … including against members of the press’ after journalist is assaulted at his El Paso rally (though last year he praised a congressman who attacked a journalist). No charges filed in the case so far. Senate Republicans reportedly angry that the president is disregarding a law requiring a report to Congress on responsibility for murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings’ investment in Reddit raising concerns given censorship in that country. Facebook under pressure for allowing vaccination foes to use closed groups on the platform to spread false information. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer
The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today
Trump Condemns Attacks on Media after BBC Incident
President Donald Trump has condemned attacks on the media after an incident involving a BBC cameraman at a rally in Texas. The White House statement did not refer to the specific incident.
GOP Livid with Trump over Ignored Khashoggi Report
The uproar among Republicans is just the latest example of their deep discontent with the president’s foreign policy. It could prompt even more defections in favor of a Democrat-led resolution coming before the House and Senate this month to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war.
Tencent Investment in Reddit Sparks Censorship Worry
Reddit confirmed a new funding round that included a $150 million investment by Chinese technology behemoth Tencent, prompting concerns that “the front page of the internet” might wind up censored.
THE STRAITS TIMES
Facebook under Pressure to Halt Rise of Anti-Vaccination Groups
So-called “anti-vaxxers” are operating on Facebook in closed groups, where members have to be approved in advance. By barring access to others, they are able to serve undiluted misinformation without challenge.
Maria Ressa: Head of Philippines News Site Rappler Arrested
The CEO of Rappler, a news website critical of the government in the Philippines, has been arrested at the company’s headquarters in Manila. Maria Ressa has been accused of “cyber-libel” over a report on a businessman’s alleged ties to a former judge.
European Press Freedom at ‘Most Fragile’ since Cold War
A report by the Council of Europe has found 2018 to be the worst year for journalists in Europe since the Cold War. It urged “urgent action” to protect workers from attacks it said are becoming more frequent.
‘Gay Muslim’ Comic Strip Vanishes After Indonesia Calls It Pornographic
An Instagram account featuring a comic strip with gay Muslim characters has disappeared, days after Indonesian officials threatened to block the entire social media platform in the country because of an uproar over the comic’s content.
NEW YORK TIMES
The Blockade of Qatar Has Made Qataris More Supportive of Free Speech
“Two surveys which other researchers and I conducted shortly before the blockade and a year after show clear inflection points on a wide range of political attitudes. In particular, Qataris have become more outspoken about politics and more open to public criticism of the government and other institutions.”
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