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.webintern@gmail.com

Syrian journalist attacked by IS in Turkey dies
A Syrian journalist who was shot in the Turkish city of Gaziantep in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group died from his wounds Tuesday, a close friend said. The death of Halab Today TV presenter Mohammed Zahir al-Sherqat marks the fourth assassination of a Syrian journalist in Turkey claimed by the extremist group. THE NEW YORK TIMES

Gay Russian journalist stabbed to death by ‘homophobic vigilante’
A man has been arrested in Russia over the murder of a gay journalist he allegedly planned to blackmail for money. Dmitry Tsilikin, a popular arts and theatre critic who had written for Kommersant, Moscow News, Vogue, and Elle, was found dead in his St. Petersburg home earlier this month. PINK NEWS

EU privacy watchdogs raise concerns over U.S. data pact
European privacy regulators said on Wednesday a new commercial data transfer pact between the European Union and the United States needed to provide more reassurance over U.S. surveillance practices and the independence of a new U.S. privacy ombudsman. REUTERS

Photojournalist covering arrests attacked by police in Nepal
Kabin Adhikari, a photojournalist with the online news outlet onlinekhabar.com, was physically attacked by police as he photographed the arrest of protesters inside the government’s main administrative premises, the Singha Durbar, on April 10. Adhikari was sent to cover the protests, which were organized by a civil employees’ trade union. IFEX

China media break silence on journalist Rui Chenggang, sparking intrigue
Chinese media have broken a two-year silence on a high-profile journalist who was arrested on suspicion of corruption – sparking speculation and excitement on social media. Rui Chenggang, from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), was once one of China’s most prominent TV news presenters. He was detained in July 2014 “on suspicion of taking bribes.” BBC NEWS

2016 World Press Freedom Index: a “disturbing” decline in media freedom
The 2016 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which Reporters Without Borders (RSF) will publish on 20 April, shows that there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels. REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS