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

Egyptian rights journalist Hossam Bahgat freed
Egypt has freed a prominent investigative journalist whose arrest was condemned by human rights organizations. Hossam Bahgat’s release was confirmed by Gasser Abdel-Razek, the director of a rights group founded by Mr Bahgat who was arrested on Sunday under accusations of publishing false information. BBC

Report faults U.S. treatment of whistleblowers
A new report from a group of prominent writers and authors argues that the U.S. government is doing too little to protect whistleblowers. The 42-page analysis from PEN American Center says that the policies and laws contain conspicuous gaps certain to undermine the confidence of many considering bringing improprieties to public knowledge. POLITICO

China licenses state journalists, freezes out commercial newsgatherers
The ruling Chinese Communist Party has denied licenses to journalists employed by commercial news websites like Sina, while handing them out to those employed by government media stalwarts like the Xinhua news agency. Press cards were issued to reporters from 14 online news organizations, but only those directly controlled by the government, Xinhua reported. RADIO FREE ASIA

Video shows U. of Missouri protesters barring media coverage
Tim Tai was just a stringer on assignment for ESPN — one of many trying to document protests at the University of Missouri over incidents of racism that resulted in the resignations of the school’s president and chancellor this week. But Tai, taking photographs of an encampment built on Mizzou’s campus by a group called Concerned Student 1950, was challenged by protesters who didn’t want him there. THE WASHINGTON POST

Russian lawmaker calls for blacklisting of Charlie Hebdo staff
A state deputy has requested that the Russian Foreign Ministry add the names of Charlie Hebdo staff to the country’s travel blacklist, following the magazine’s two cartoons depicting the Sinai air crash. Communist lawmaker Vadim Solovyov referred to the cartoonists’ “blasphemous and amoral behavior,” echoing the Kremlin’s earlier criticism of the drawings. THE MOSCOW TIMES

Nigerian journalist, pregnant wife battered over land dispute report
An Ughelli-based journalist recounted how he and his eight-months pregnant wife were beaten to a pulp by an assailant while the journalist was on the job. The incident occurred, Kingsley Okoro, a correspondent with Urhobo Times newspaper, explained, when Okoro was invited to report a land tussle between her and the assailant. VANGUARD

Pakistani reporter Afzal Mughal kidnapped from home
A journalist was kidnapped by masked gunmen while at home with his family Tuesday, the latest in a years-long trend of attacks targeting reporters in Pakistan. Intruders berated Afzal Mughal before beating him, throwing him in a vehicle, and driving away, according to police. NBC NEWS

Narcodata journalism project helps to contextualize Mexican drug war
Drug cartels and criminal organizations have so permeated everyday life in Mexico, it’s hard to follow who is who among gangsters and how strong their influence is. An in-depth journalism project aims to simplify all the complex data behind the country’s drug war of the past four decades. GLOBAL VOICES