Free Expression Daily Digest: Tues., Mar 22

PEN’s Free Expression Digest brings you a daily curated round-up of the most important free expression-related stories from around the web. Subscribe here. *This mailing list is currently in BETA as we work out the kinks. Please send your feedback and suggestions to

Cuba visit: Obama and Castro spar over human rights
Cuban President Raul Castro and US President Barack Obama sparred over human rights issues such as Cuba’s political prisoners, journalists, and reporters. BBC NEWS

Vietnam puts prominent blogger on trial for anti-state posts
A prominent Vietnamese blogger who is a former police officer and the son of a late government minister will be put on trial this week for alleged anti-state postings, his lawyer said Tuesday. ASSOCIATED PRESS

iPhone hearing canceled by the Justice Department
The government said an outside party had demonstrated a way for the F.B.I. to possibly unlock the phone used by the gunman, Syed Rizwan Farook. The hearing in the case, scheduled for today, has been canceled by the Justice Department. Apple has loudly opposed opening the iPhone, citing privacy concerns and igniting a heated debate. THE NEW YORK TIMES

Poet pardoned by Emir leaving Qatar
A Qatari poet who was jailed for nearly five years for “inciting to overthrow the regime” and “insulting the Emir” will leave the country now that he has been pardoned by the Emir, his lawyer said. DOHA NEWS

Local journalist killed by sniper fire in Yemen’s Taiz
Yemeni security officials say a local photojournalist was killed and three other reporters were wounded by sniper fire in the war-torn city of Taiz. The officials say Mohammed al-Yamani was shot in the head while covering the fighting between Shiite Houthi rebels and local fighters. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Israel: Proposed ‘loyalty bill’ to impact on artistic expression
Miri Regev, Israel’s minister of culture and sport, proposed an amendment that would slash government funding for any arts organization not “loyal to the state”. The bill would allow the ministry to deny state subsidies to groups that disrespect state symbols or the flag and other provisions. FREEMUSE