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White House reverses itself, fully restoring Jim Acosta’s press pass and prompting CNN to drop lawsuit. Letter from senior White House communications staff sets out rules including requirement that journalists asking questions at a press conference surrender the microphone after taking a turn. Outcome leaves PEN America suit only ongoing legal challenge to President Trump’s threats and acts of retaliation against the media. Signs of fissure within the Saudi royal family over Khashoggi killing. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel in the Washington Post on how the unleashing of hateful sentiment in society writ large has prompted more aggressive policing of speech in controlled settings like universities. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer

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


White House Drops Effort to Suspend Press Pass for CNN’s Jim Acosta; Outlines Rules to Reporters
The letter to CNN from the White House outlines four rules for reporters, such as: a journalist “will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists,” and follow-up questions will be permitted “at the discretion of the president or other White House officials taking questions.”

White House’s New Press Rules Will Make It Harder for Reporters to Hold Trump Accountable
Strict enforcement of these rules could allow President Trump or the press secretary to lie with impunity, as reporters who press them about false claims could be construed as asking more than “a single question,” risking being banned in response.

Enforced Silence Is Just as Dangerous as Any Offensive Rhetoric
“We should avoid trying to divine a single uniform demarcation for tolerable speech and be leery of decreeing that those who feel ready and willing to engage even dangerous ideas must stand down because others are disinclined.”

Better Local Journalism, by Local Reporters, Is the Goal of a New Database
Shoeleather is a database aimed at connecting journalists outside the nation’s media hubs with editors across the country for the purpose of reporting on their home regions. Since it was announced in late September, more than 400 reporters representing all 50 states have registered.

If You Hate the Media, You’re More Likely to Be Fooled by a Fake Headline
A new study shows that those who have negative opinions of the news media are less likely to spot a fake headline, less likely to differentiate between news and opinion—but more confident in their ability to find the information they need online.


After Khashoggi Murder, Some Saudi Royals Turn against King’s Favorite Son *PEN Case List: Find Out More
Amid international uproar over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, some members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are agitating to prevent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from becoming king.

Shahidul Alam Walks out of Jail *PEN Case List: Find Out More
Last week, Shahidul Alam, one of the most respected photographers in the world, obtained permanent bail from the High Court. Today, after 108 days behind bars in Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj, he walked free. He was arrested on charges of “spreading propaganda and false information against the government.”

Why Turkey Ranks First in the World in Exposure to Fake News
The rise of social media as a source of news in Turkey, where about 90 percent of the media is owned by pro-government business groups, contributes to fake news consumption and can trigger social tensions and inflammatory rhetoric.

Academics Warn of Potential for Fake News Campaign before Polls
Parliament has been warned that the risk of misinformation campaigns having an impact on Australian elections is “high” amid new research that Chinese-language social media is “flooded” with stories to shape opinion.

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