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California judge rules that forcing a baker to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage over her religious objections violates her free speech rights in a case similar to one awaiting a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision. Oxford University research finds that “junk news”—extremist, low quality, conspiratorial, or false—was overwhelmingly consumed and shared by right-wing social network users over a three-month period. The digital divide remains a persistent problem in the U.S., with some regions still struggling to get connected. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


A wedding cake is an ‘artistic expression’ that a baker may deny to a same-sex couple, Calif. judge rules
The judge’s reasoning is similar to that of the “cake artist” awaiting a Supreme Court ruling, in which a Colorado baker is arguing that the First Amendment’s free speech and free exercise of religion clauses give him the right to refuse wedding services to a same-sex couple, despite public accommodations laws that require businesses open to the public to treat all potential customers equally.

Fake news sharing in U.S. is a rightwing thing
The University of Oxford’s “computational propaganda project” looked at the most significant sources of “junk news” shared in the three months leading up to Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address this January, and tried to find out who was sharing them and why.

The least connected people in America
As broadband internet becomes more important—the way Americans do everything from applying for jobs, to chatting with relatives, to watching TV—one gap has become more glaring: the difference between those who have broadband and those who don’t. An estimated 24 million people, about 8 percent of Americans, still have no home access to high-speed internet. (Part of Politico’s Digital Divide report.)

Firings, resignations, and turmoil at Newsweek
Two of Newsweek’s top editors, Bob Roe and Kenneth Li, were abruptly fired from the company along with reporter Celeste Katz; all three were among a team of reporters and editors pursuing an investigative piece into the finances of Newsweek’s parent company, the Newsweek Media Group.


Poland’s President Supports Making Some Holocaust Statements a Crime
President Andrzej Duda said he would sign a bill making it illegal to accuse “the Polish nation” of complicity in the Holocaust, a measure—which prohibits, among other things, the phrase “Polish death camp”—that opponents think would stifle free speech and put questions of historical accuracy in the hands of judges and prosecutors.

A year after Jammeh: Free press returns to The Gambia
A year after the fall of The Gambia’s former ruler Yahya Jammeh, freedom of expression and the press are seeing a tentative return. While some restrictive laws remain, some of the more than 110 journalists once living in exile have moved back.

Vietnam jails activist for 14 years for livestreaming pollution march
Hoang Duc Binh was convicted of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state, organization, and people, and opposing officers on duty, and sentenced to 14 years in jail for livestreaming fishermen marching to file a lawsuit against a Taiwan-owned steel plant’s spill of toxins into the ocean.

Honduras to Protest Communication Law Censuring Social Media
Former President Manuel Zelaya and the Honduran Opposition Alliance are calling for protests against the proposed reform to the Communications Law in the capital. The reform is being called the “gag” law by the Alliance and others who oppose it saying it will double the government’s control of traditional airwaves and social media.