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New German Social Media Law Invites Censorship: Daily Brief

Plus: End of an era in Zimbabwe; Russian woman declared unfit to foster; Australian bill stifles debate; Burma's leadership accused of crimes against humanity; China jails lawyers; consolidation of power in Cambodia; reprisals in Thailand & the Philippines; Global Gag Rule repercussions.


  1. The United States Congress' latest failed attempt to reach a deal on immigration leaves thousands of vulnerable 'Dreamers' in the US at continued risk of deportation. Instead of offering protection, today's votes ensure that the Trump administration's abusive immigration system will go on.
  2. Yesterday's mass shooting at a school in Florida, the 18th since the beginning of the year, has left 17 students and faculty dead.
  3. From earlier today: A new German law that compels social media companies to remove hate speech and other illegal content could lead to unaccountable, overbroad censorship. The law sets a dangerous precedent for other governments looking to restrict speech online by forcing companies to censor on the government’s behalf.
  4. Veteran Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has died after a long struggle with cancer. For nearly two decades the former labor leader and founder of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) challenged the autocratic rule of former President Robert Mugabe. His death comes only months before new presidential elections are due.
  5. A Russian court has found a 40-year-old woman unfit to foster two children with disabilities, claiming she exudes a “style of male behavior”. The authorities cited a transgender blog she wrote and a recent breast removal surgery, done for health reasons, as evidence.
  6. A proposed Australian law will limit social activist organizations from using foreign funding for advocacy purposes, and is a move “straight out of the authoritarian’s playbook”, said Human Rights Watch.
  7. The United Nations Special Envoy on Human Rights in Myanmar, also known as Burma, has claimed that the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be guilty of crimes against humanity for her government’s implication in the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
  8. China’s disbarring and jailing of human rights lawyers “exposes the absurdity of China’s claim to uphold the ‘rule of law”, says Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson. Beijing should immediately release human rights lawyers detained or imprisoned on baseless subversion charges.
  9. Cambodia’s parliament enacted amendments to the constitution and penal code that will further consolidate the ruling party’s power, cement Prime Minister Hun Sen as the country’s sole authority, and stifle free speech.