Trump threatens to stiffen libel laws in wake of Michael Wolff book (see PEN America statement here). Controversy erupts over “Shitty Men in Media” list that circulated last fall. Reports surface that a forthcoming piece in Harper’s by essayist Katie Roiphe will unmask the creator of the list, prompting journalist Moira Donegan to publish a piece in New York Magazine online outing herself as the list’s creator. House takes up reauthorization of warrantless digital surveillance program, reopening privacy debates. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director


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


Trump renews pledge to ‘take a strong look’ at libel laws
President Trump repeated a pledge to make it easier for people to sue news organizations and publishers for defamation, denouncing the country’s libel laws as a “sham” a day after his personal lawyer filed a lawsuit against BuzzFeed News.

Creator of the ‘Media Men List’ of accused sexual harassers outs herself
A spreadsheet titled “Shitty Media Men” was circulated among women in the media industry about a week after the New York Times revealed allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. The list’s creator never meant for it to go public. But it did. Now, more controversies erupts over the list.

Shitty Media Men list: Moira Donegan comes forward as author
Amid speculation that Harper’s magazine planned to reveal the identity of the “Shitty Media Men” list’s author, Moira Donegan penned an article in The Cut saying she was behind the document, and that she created it as “a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged.”

Surveillance and privacy debate reaches pivotal moment in Congress
A yearslong debate over National Security Agency surveillance and protections for Americans’ privacy rights reaches a climactic moment as the House of Representatives takes up legislation to extend a program of warrantless spying on internet and phone networks that traces back to the Sept. 11 attacks.


‘Vulgar Butcher’ Wu Gan sought to appeal his 8-year sentence
Prominent Chinese rights activist Wu Gan, a blogger who goes by the nickname “Super Vulgar Butcher” as he mocked corrupt officials as pigs, has sought to appeal his eight-year prison sentence after being found guilty of subverting state power.

Pakistani journalist who criticized military tells of attempted abduction
Taha Siddiqui, an award-winning journalist known for his critical reporting of Pakistan’s powerful military, has said he narrowly avoided abduction after his taxi was stopped by armed men.

France weighs a law to rein in ‘fake news,’ raising fears for freedom of speech
French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to introduce a law against “fake news” by the end of 2018. But critics are voicing concerns over what they see as potential infringement on the freedom of expression.

First France, now Brazil unveils plan to empower the government to censor the internet in the name of stopping “fake news”
The official Twitter account of Brazil’s Federal Police (its FBI equivalent) posted a tweet that purports to vest in the federal police and the federal government that oversees it the power to regulate, control, and outright censor political content on the internet that is assessed to be “false,” and to “punish” those who disseminate it.

Activists protest for the release of a detained queer journalist outside the Russian consulate
Dozens of activists protested outside of the Russian Consulate-General in New York City to demand the release of detained queer journalist Ali Feruz. Feruz, an Uzbek national facing deportation from Russia, has been held in a Moscow immigration detention center for the past six months.

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