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 pen.webintern@gmail.com

France approves ‘Big Brother’ surveillance powers despite UN concern

France’s highest authority on constitutional matters has approved a controversial bill that allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails and hack computers without permission from a judge. The UN says the sweeping new powers given to the state to spy on citizens are ‘excessively broad’ and ‘intrusive’. THE GUARDIAN

 

Malaysia suspends 2 newspapers covering scandal at state-owned fund

The Malaysian authorities have ordered two newspapers to suspend publishing for three months over their reporting on a financial scandal that has embroiled Prime Minister Najib Razak and other members of the country’s elite. THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

Azerbaijan puts imprisoned journalist Khadija Ismayilova on trial *PEN Case List

After almost eight months behind bars, the trial of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova on a variety of charges has begun in a Baku court. Human rights groups say charges against her are politically motivated and are a form of retribution for her extensive reporting on the president’s financial dealings. THE GUARDIAN

 

Scrapping of criminal defamation law would lead to anarchy, Centre tells Supreme Court

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi stoutly defended the law for making defamation an offense, saying that scrapping the law would lead to anarchy in the society when people would get away with impunity even after destroying the hard-earned reputation of a person. TIMES OF INDIA

 

Turkey’s press council says censorship still in place

Turkey’s Press Council has said censorship is still in place in Turkey, adding the country ranked 149th among 199 countries in press freedom reports, with 21 journalists in jail and a large number of ongoing cases filed against journalists, in a written statement issued to mark the 107th anniversary of Journalists Day. HURRIYET DAILY NEWS

 

Fate of Ukrainian journalist detained in occupied Luhansk is still unknown

Ukrainian journalist Maria Varfolomeyeva hasn’t been seen for more than six months ever since Russian-separatists took her captive in Luhansk Oblast. Varfolomeyeva disappeared on Jan. 9, 2015, while covering the conflict in the east. KYIV POST

 

Tunisia charges editor with complicity in terrorist attack

Tunisian authorities are accusing editor Nour Edine Mbarki of complicity in the June 27 terrorist attack on Sousse beach. Mbarki was charged in connection with publishing a photograph of a car that purportedly transported the gunman. The case comes as journalists face heightened legal threats and restrictions in the country. CPJ

 

Iran sentences cartoonist to 12 years in jail

Iranian artist Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to 12 years in prison by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for drawing a caricature depicting the members of Parliament with heads of animals. She drew the cartoon as a means to protest proposed stricter divorce laws and birth control measures. THE CITIZEN

 

On eve of Obama visit, Kenyans warn of waning press freedom

As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Kenya this week for a summit on global entrepreneurship, local media groups are urging the president to take up the cause of press freedom during talks with Kenyan officials, in light of increased threats against the East African nation’s vibrant media. AL JAZEERA AMERICA