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

Zimbabwe: photo journalist assaulted for documenting police clash 
Bulawayo police on Thursday assaulted freelance journalist, Crispen Ndlovu, who was taking photographs of skirmishes between ZRP officers and commuter omnibus operators. ALL AFRICA

Hong Kong court extends press gag in test case for freedoms
A Hong Kong judge on Friday extended a press gag order in a case involving one of Asia’s top universities, renewing concerns about press freedom in the Chinese-controlled city in the wake of last year’s pro-democracy protests. REUTERS  

Macedonia: Media owner brutally beaten with metal bars
Sasho Denesovski, journalist and owner multiple web portals, was brutally assaulted around 2.45 am near his home in Ohrid, local media reports. Denesovski claims that the attack was motivated by his work. In a statement for one of his web portals, he blames the local police for the attack, stating they were the perpetrators behind it. MAPPING MEDIA FREEDOM  

Freed Al-Jazeera journalist celebrates return home to Kenya
Australian journalist Peter Greste said Friday that returning to his home in Kenya almost two years after he was jailed in Egypt was one of his “happiest moments”. He thanked colleagues for kickstarting the campaign in Kenya, speaking how usually fiercely rival reporters came together with “unanimity of purpose and a common sense of outrage”. YAHOO

Chinese committee to uphold media ethics and “protect the interests of the state”
A new committee will be established to implement a self-discipline pact on ethics in the media industry, as confirmed by the president of the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television (CARFT) on Thursday. A total of 50 media organizations signed a pact in September promising to uphold media ethics. It included clauses on the promotion of “healthy and tasteful style” and united opposition of false reporting, vulgar content, harmful information, plagiarism, and false advertising. The signatories pledged to “protect the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the interests of the state, and to not publish or spread any information that would undermine the image of either.” XINHUA NET  

Kremlin: Charlie Hebdo’s Russian Plane Crash Cartoons ‘Blasphemous’
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has described two cartoons about Russian Airbus A321 breaking up mid-air over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula reportedly published in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as “blasphemous” amid a wave of condemnation of the French publication and calls to label its content extremist. THE MOSCOW TIMES

Only ‘tiny handful’ of ministers knew of mass surveillance, Clegg reveals
The majority of the UK cabinet were never told the security services had been secretly harvesting data from the phone calls, texts and emails of a huge number of British citizens since 2005, Nick Clegg has disclosed. The former deputy prime minister’s revelation in the Guardian again raises concerns about the extent to which the security services felt they were entitled to use broadly drawn legislative powers to carry out intrusive surveillance and keep this information from democratically elected politicians. THE GUARDIAN