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Senate Judiciary Committee slates hearing for Monday where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of a long-ago assault, will testify. Showdown will implicate truth, memory, #metoo and bare-knuckled pre-election politics. Newly exposed DOJ documents reveal potential surveillance of journalists working in the U.S. Some signs suggest Facebook’s efforts to counter election-related fraudulent news may be working, with the propaganda migrating to Twitter. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


Kavanaugh, His Accuser Will Testify Before Senate Committee
The Senate Judiciary Committee said it would hold a hearing next week with Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault. The hearing will give citizens and lawmakers a chance to hear more about the three-decades-old accusations against Judge Kavanaugh.

Government Can Spy on Journalists in the U.S. Using Invasive Foreign Intelligence Process
According to newly released documents, the U.S. government can monitor journalists under a foreign intelligence law that allows invasive spying and operates outside the traditional court system. Targeting members of the press under the law, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, requires approval from the Justice Department’s highest-ranking officials.

Facebook’s Crackdown on Misinformation Might Actually Be Working
Facebook’s efforts to reduce misinformation in its news feed since the 2016 election have opened the company to all manner of criticism. A new study finds that suspected hoax and propaganda sites have been getting less engagement on Facebook since the 2016 election—and getting more on Twitter.

Court Declines to End Paperless Voting in Georgia Before Midterms
In Georgia, a federal judge ruled that the state need not replace paperless voting machines before the midterms. Cybersecurity experts argue that paper-based systems are vital to protecting elections from undetectable tampering by sophisticated hackers.

Report: YouTube’s ‘Alternative Influence Network’ Breeds Rightwing Radicalization
YouTube provides a breeding ground for far-right radicalization, where people interested in conservative and libertarian ideas are quickly exposed to white nationalist ones, according to a report from Data & Society. The study points to the social media site’s network of scholars, media pundits and internet celebrities who unite to promote far-right politics.


Newspapers are ‘Propaganda,’ Italy’s Far-Right Official Says, Considers End to Funding
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, called newspapers “propaganda” and threatened to end public funding in a Facebook post over the weekend. Di Maio and other members of Italy’s populist government have previously been critical of newspapers, echoing President Donald Trump’s criticism of the press.

‘I Will Rape You’: Female Journalists Face ‘Relentless’ Abuse
Female journalists are facing a “relentless” barrage of attacks and harassment, with nearly a third considering leaving the profession as a result. More than half of women in media have suffered work-related abuse, found a survey by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and TrollBusters.

Freedom of Expression Under Threat: Nandita Das on Activists’ Arrests by Pune Police
Actor-filmmaker Nandita Das has expressed concern on the arrests of five Dalit rights activists by the Pune Police for their alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January. Among those arrested were five Dalit rights activists namely Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves.

German Doctors Say It’s ‘Highly Plausible’ Pussy Riot Activist Was Poisoned
Pyotr Verzilov, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government, was recently flown to Germany after a suspected poisoning. Doctors at the Charité hospital in Berlin say it’s “highly plausible” Pyotr Verzilov of the Russian protest band “Pussy Riot” was poisoned last week, although it’s unclear with what or by whom.

Kyrgyzstan’s Problematic Extremist Materials Law
Article 299-2 of Kyrgyzstan’s criminal codE, the most common charge against terrorism and extremism suspects in the country criminalizes possession of extremist material.In a new report, Human Rights Watch says Kyrgyzstan’s extremist materials law is vague and open to easy abuse.

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