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The Environmental Protection Agency cancels speaking appearances of three agency scientists set to discuss climate change, and the New York Times investigative reporter who tried for months to get EPA response to a list of specific questions about a chemical industry insider’s role at the agency ends up with a blanket refusal from the taxpayer-paid spokesperson, who emailed: “No matter how much information we give you, you would never write a fair piece. The only thing inappropriate and biased is your continued fixation on writing elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country.” Russia gets Bill Browder, prime advocate for the U.S. Congress-passed Magnitsky Acts that target human-rights abusers, onto Interpol international arrest list and then US Department of State reportedly cancels his visa. Cub Scout barred from his den after questioning lawmaker about gun control. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is reported to have paid $32 million to settle sexual harassment allegations a month before he got a four-year contract extension for $25 million per year. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


The Trump White House Ramps Up Its War On Science
The canceled talks indicate that the E.P.A. will continue its pattern of obfuscating scientific fact—a tactic scientists feared would be employed under Trump. As oceanography professor John King stated, “It’s definitely a blatant example of the scientific censorship we all suspected was going to start being enforced at E.P.A.”

State Department Reportedly Revokes Visa Of Magnitsky Act Campaigner
The 2012 U.S. law is aimed at punishing Russian officials believed responsible for the death in a Moscow prison of Sergei Magnitsky, who was allegedly beaten and denied medical care. The cancelling of Browder’s visa came on the same day that the Kremlin issued yet another international arrest warrant for him via Interpol.

Cub Scout Is Exiled After Pressing Legislator on Guns and Race
The Scout’s mother, Ms. Mayfield, said the den leader’s response might have been fueled by her decision to post videos of the senator’s interaction with the scouts online, where they were picked up by the local news media.

Bill O’Reilly settled sexual harassment claim from Fox News contributor for $32 million
This latest settlement exceeds all of the previous agreements between O’Reilly and his accusers. The five agreements reportedly amounted to $13 million. O’Reilly personally paid two of these five settlements. Fox News paid the other three.

Ohio State faces lawsuit after rejecting request to allow white nationalist speaker
“The University values freedom of speech. Nonetheless, the University has determined that it is not presently able to accommodate the request to rent space (for Spencer) at the University due to substantial risk to public safety,” Ohio State’s attorney Michael Carpenter wrote.


Russian radio journalist stabbed in neck at her Moscow office
Ekho Moskvy is one of the few outlets for independent journalism in Russia, featuring reports and discussions sharply critical of the Kremlin. Ekho journalists have been attacked before, and liberal journalists are frequently equated with traitors in Russia.

Czech elections show how difficult it is to fix the fake news problem
The Center Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats has relied on mass media to pick up its tweets or statements to debunk misleading online reports. The problem is that many of the estimated 25% of Czechs who read websites accused of spreading fake news have stopped consuming mainstream media where corrections usually appear.

Rajasthan Government Moves to Gag Media From Reporting on Official Wrongdoing
If the Bill is passed by the state assembly, journalists would be barred from reporting any accusation against serving bureaucrats, and serving or retired judges and magistrates unless the state government has itself sanctioned a probe into the charge. Any journalist breaking the rule is likely to face a two-year jail term.

Moscow Court Rejects Uzbek Journalist’s Appeal Against Deportation Ruling
Ali Feruz filed the appeal after Russian immigration authorities in 2015 refused to grant him political asylum—a decision that subsequently led to a court order for his deportation to Uzbekistan over alleged immigration-law violations.

China’s Pursuit of Fugitive Businessman Guo Wengui Kicks Off Manhattan Caper Worthy of Spy Thriller
Beijing has branded Mr. Guo as an attention-seeking criminal. Beginning this year, his near daily broadcasts on Twitter alleging official corruption have attracted many followers in China, who find ways to bypass China’s internet firewall.

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