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The Women’s March, which was honored last year with the PEN/Toni & James C. Goodale Free Expression Courage Award, is reprised with demonstrations around the country drawing hundreds of thousands of marchers. Republican hashtag shifting blame for government shutdown to Democrats getting huge boost from Russian bots on Twitter. White House reporter April Ryan says news organizations have the police “on speed dial” to handle threats against journalists. Chinese brazenly seize Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen, while being escorted by Swedish diplomats on train. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Women’s Marches end with eyes on the midterms
Politics weren’t the only thing on demonstrators’ minds. The marches also coincided with the recent #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual assault and harassment. Carrying signs, demonstrators voiced their support for women’s rights and the cultural shift that has rocked numerous industries in the past few months.

The #SchumerShutdown Hashtag Is Getting A Big Boost From Russian Bots
#SchumerShutdown has surpassed #ReleaseTheMemo as the highest trending hashtag among Russian influence campaigns. They seized on that hashtag in an effort to pressure Republican lawmakers to release a classified memo written by House GOP aides that allegedly describes abuses in FBI surveillance practices.

White House Correspondent April Ryan Tells CNN News Organizations Have Police “On Speed Dial” For Death Threats
Asked what reporters do when threatened, April Ryan, the White House correspondent who asked President Donald Trump if he is a racist, said, “What do you do? You talk to your company and your company has the FBI and local police on speed dial. Just for asking questions.”

ICE has detained or deported prominent immigration activists
“Arresting immigrant activists who speak up is meant to sow fear in immigrant communities and stop political protest,” said Kica Matos, a spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. “This latest tactic is something we might expect from generals in a tin-pot dictatorship, not federal officers in a 240-year-old democracy.”


Chinese Police Seize Publisher From Train in Front of Diplomats *PEN Case List
Bookseller Gui Minhai’s latest disappearance suggests at least some in the Chinese security forces remain unbowed by the criticisms of secretive detentions. After Mr. Gui was taken away, Chinese officials told Swedish diplomats that he was suspected of sharing secret information with Swedish diplomats and of meeting them illegally.

Head of Russian outlet RT says US foreign agent order hurts
Since the U.S. Justice Department gave the order, RT has been shut out of news events and suffered damage to its reputation, said editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan. Known as a defender of Russia and its president, Simonyan decried what she described as America’s retreat from its core value of freedom of the press.

Sudanese authorities detain Reuters, AFP reporters in Khartoum
Sudanese authorities arrested the journalists while they were reporting on demonstrations in Khartoum, according to a statement from CPJ, which cited news reports and the independent Sudanese Journalists Network. An external information council official did not say whether the two journalists would be charged.

India will install cameras in classrooms amid a rise of surveillance measures in Asia
India’s capital territory Delhi will install surveillance cameras in all of its classrooms after a spate of violent incidents, a decision that comes as increased surveillance measures sweep across Asia. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said surveillance cameras would be installed in all government schools in the next three months.

This Country’s Democracy Has Fallen Apart—And It Played Out To Millions On Facebook
When Facebook first came to Cambodia, many hoped it would help to usher in a new period of free speech. Instead, the opposite has happened. Prime Minister Hun Sen is now using the platform to promote his message while jailing his critics, and his staff is doing its best to exploit Facebook’s own rules to shut down criticism.

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