PEN’s Free Expression Digest brings you a daily curated round-up of the most important free expression-related stories from around the web. Please send your feedback and suggestions to

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi gets Sakharov Prize, top E.U. human rights award
Raif Badawi, a blogger and activist who has been imprisoned and publicly flogged for criticizing Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment, was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Union’s top human rights award, on Thursday. NEW YORK TIMES

Police use terror powers to seize BBC Newsnight journalist’s laptop
Police have used powers under the Terrorism Act to seize the laptop of a young Newsnight journalist in a case that has shocked BBC colleagues and alarmed freedom of speech campaigners. Secunder Kermani joined the flagship BBC2 news show last year and has produced a series of reports on British-born jihadis. THE INDEPENDENT

155 Ghanaian journalists call for sanctions against top presidential aide
Some 155 journalists from over 40 media organisations across Ghana have joined the Media Foundation for West Africa to petition President John Dramani Mahama to demand sanctions against his staffer, Mr. Stan Dogbe. The petition follows Mr. Dogbe’s assault of Mr. Yahayah Kwamoah, a journalist with state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation nearly two months ago. IFEX

Turkey: Veteran journalist Ahmet Altan facing two investigations for ‘insulting president’
Two separate investigations have been launched against journalist and author Ahmet Altan on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan’s lawyer claimed that an interview with Altan posted on the news portal titled “They are killing young people in order to live in palaces” has no news value and simply insults the president. TODAY’S ZAMAN

Journalism organization to establish Nigerian Society of Broadcasters
In a bid to tackle quacks in the broadcasting industry, the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) plans to establish the Nigerian Society of Broadcasters to ensure standards of reporting are being met. Segun Olaleye, Executive Secretary of BON, said the organization would conduct examinations of broadcasting candidates before allowing them to work in the field. THE EAGLE ONLINE

Alphabet, Indonesian companies to expand web access via balloons
Alphabet Inc., the new holding company for Google, has teamed up with three Indonesian telecommunications companies to expand Internet access in that country using solar-powered balloons, which would deliver access through radio frequency signals to antennae connected to buildings on the ground. REUTERS

Zuckerberg: Free, limited Internet is better than Net Neutrality and no Internet
Critics argue that behind the Facebook CEO’s humanitarian rhetoric, is simply a mechanism to cull valuable user data from a massive untapped market via the social media site. At the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said, “Some of the people advocating for net neutrality regulations also advocate that you shouldn’t be able to do any sort of zero-rating or free services at all…I say, if you have a student who is getting free access to the Internet and wouldn’t have had access otherwise, who’s getting hurt there?” MOTHERBOARD

Why some Palestinian journalists struggle with when to put down the camera
Palestinian journalists covering current events in Jerusalem and the West Bank are torn between the professionalism their jobs require and their sense of nationalism, often conveying a subjective image of the news. AL-MONITOR