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 [email protected]

TV channel head killed in Afghanistan; Two suspects held
Managing director of private Asia Television Channel, Amanullah Ataee, was killed in Kabul on Sunday, an official said. Mr. Ataee was in front of his home when he was shot dead at about 9pm local time. The main cause of the murder has yet to be clear. It was the second attack on journalists in Kabul this month. AFGHANISTAN JOURNALISTS CENTER

Egyptian journalist, Sinai expert in custody after questioning
Egyptian journalist, researcher, and expert on the Sinai, Ismail Alexandrani, was stopped at Hurghada airport Sunday afternoon and questioned for over 19 hours after arriving from Berlin, his friend Ahmed Sakr said in a Facebook statement in coordination with Alexandrani’s wife. Alexandrani remains in custody. AL BAWABA

China: Gao Yu ‘had no choice’ but to confess guilt before release *PEN Case List
While dissident journalist Gao Yu was said to be released from her 20-month detention on state secret charges for medical reasons, the outcome of her case actually hinged upon one thing: a confession. Gao, who had earlier insisted on her innocence, pleaded guilty at an appeal hearing in Beijing. People familiar with the third-time jailed journalist said a confession was out of character for the normally spirited woman. SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Second Brazilian blogger shot dead after criticizing politicians
On Nov. 21, blogger Roberto Lano was killed by a bullet to the head in the state of Maranhão. He was the victim of shots fired by a suspect on a motorbike, and died immediately. The killer remains unidentified. His murder was disturbingly similar to the killing of Ítalo Eduardo Barros, who was also shot by men firing from a motorbike, and also in Maranhão. THE GUARDIAN

French journalist in China ‘intimidated by state newspapers’
A French journalist working in China has been subject to intimidation after writing about the Beijing government’s reaction to the Paris attacks. Now the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has issued a statement registering its “deep concern” about the treatment of Ursula Gauthier, who works for the Paris-based weekly, L’Obs. Her article about terrorism touched on one of China’s most sensitive issues: the conflict with the Muslim Uighur people in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. THE GUARDIAN

Reporters in Indonesia shot while covering news
Three journalists were shot on Sunday while they were covering the arrest of a suspected thief who fled into a drug and gambling den in North Sumatra. They were shot at by an unidentified person with an airsoft gun. Fortunately, the journalists managed to flee from the gambling den and are being treated at a hospital in Medan. THE JAKARTA POST

On China’s fringes, cyber spies raise their game
Almost a year after students ended pro-democracy street protests in Hong Kong, they face an online battle against what Western security experts say are China-sponsored hackers using techniques rarely seen elsewhere. The level of hacking is a sign, they say, of how important China views Hong Kong, where 79 days of protests late last year brought parts of the territory, a major regional financial hub, to a standstill. REUTERS

A positive step for transgender rights in Vietnam
On Nov. 24, the Vietnamese National Assembly approved a bill to legalize sex reassignment surgery and to introduce the right to legal gender recognition for transgender people who have undergone such surgery. The law allows people who wish to undergo gender affirming surgeries to do so in Vietnam rather than abroad, and to subsequently change the gender marker on their official documents, constituting a small, but significant step toward recognition of transgender people’s rights. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH