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

PEN America enlists writers to urge Egypt’s leader to free author At least 120 prominent writers and artists from around the world have signed a letter sent to Egypt’s president urging him to release Ahmed Naji, an Egyptian author imprisoned for a novel deemed to have violated public morals. The letter amplifies international pressure on the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, over his increasingly harsh repression of writers and journalists. THE NEW YORK TIMES

Outspoken Pakistani journalist gunned down in Karachi Pakistani journalist and activist Khurram Zaki was gunned down on the streets of Karachi on Saturday night, in the latest sign that campaigners take severe risks speaking out against extremism in the country. His colleagues say the murder is a “grim reminder” of the danger activists face. TIME

Three Spanish journalists kidnapped in Syria return home The three Spanish journalists who went missing last July in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo have returned to Spain, according to a statement released by the Spanish government. They had been held in Syria since July 2015. CNN

North Korea expels BBC journalist after ‘disrespectful’ reports North Korea expelled a BBC journalist Monday for broadcasting “disrespectful” comments, apparently taking offense at reports that authorities in Pyongyang considered insufficiently reverent of the country’s leader. THE WASHINGTON POST

Two journalists investigated by prosecution for breaching media gag Journalist and the editor-in-chief from Al-Wafd newspaper were summoned on Saturday before the general prosecution to be investigated for publishing an article that was considered a breach of the media gag order. The journalist, Samia Farouk, wrote an article about a lawsuit filed to contest the media gag. DAILY NEWS EGYPT

Journalists arrested while covering ecological disaster in Vietnam Police on May 1 arrested two reporters as they investigated a mysterious ecological disaster that has seen tons of fish wash up on the shores of the country’s central coastal region. Chu Manh Son, a reporter with a local Catholic news service, and Truong Minh Tam, a citizen journalist, were arrested individually after traveling to affected areas. IFEX

The battle over Arab public space and ideas It is not a good sign when a government says it promotes democracy yet sends its police to intimidate and arrest journalists. In this vein, the Egyptian government’s storming of the Egyptian Press Syndicate’s offices on May 1 is only the latest and most dramatic move by Arab governments to use a variety of means at their disposal to control what citizens have access to in their media. THE CAIRO REVIEW OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS