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Thursday, May 28th

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Letter to Obama discussed at Post reporter's trial in Iran

Iran trialA letter a detained Washington Post journalist wrote to U.S. President Barack Obama has become a major topic of his espionage trial in Iran.  Jason Rezaian, the Post's 39-year-old bureau chief in Tehran, had his first hearing Tuesday.

At the hearing, Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency reports that the letter Rezaian wrote was read aloud in Farsi.

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Iran begins closed-door trial of Washington Post reporter

Jason RezaianAn Iranian security court on Tuesday held the first hearing in the closed trial of an Iranian-American reporter for The Washington Post who has been detained for more than 10 months, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Correspondent Jason Rezaian, 39, is being tried in a Revolutionary Court on allegations of "espionage for the hostile government of the United States" and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, it reported.

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The BBC braces for the fight of its life

BBC fighting for its lifeA majority Conservative government was the outcome that Europe’s largest public broadcaster dreaded most.

And Prime Minister David Cameron had not even finished announcing his new Cabinet this week when the British press declared his government at war with the BBC.

The appointment of John Whittingdale, a Conservative stalwart and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, as the minister overseeing broadcasting policy was, to hear the UK media tell it, the opening barrage in what will be a brutal fight about the corporation’s future over the next 18 months.

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Press freedom is declining in the US

Press freedom decliningToday the world recognizes World Press Freedom Day. Instituted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), its purpose is to “celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on [its] independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.”

The issues of quality reporting, media independence and the safety of journalists are as relevant today as ever – especially in the United States.

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Diminished freedoms: Jailing and killing the media

jason Rezaian, jailed WP reporterThe gruesome image of a journalist dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit kneeling helplessly before their black-clad captor has become the unfortunate embodiment of the gravest threat facing journalists today.

In its 2015 World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) writes, "media freedom is in retreat on all five continents," ranking Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria and China at the bottom of its 180 country index.

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Life after the sting: ‘(T)error’ doc explores FBI use of paid informants

Tarik shahJenkins’ son, Tarik Shah, a jazz bassist and 10th degree black belt, was convicted in 2007 of agreeing “to provide training in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat to Al-Qaeda members and associates,” and “pledging an oath to Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden,” according to the FBI.

The crux of Shah’s conviction relied on the testimony of and recordings made by a paid FBI informant and an undercover FBI agent. His mother and four siblings maintain Shah was the victim of entrapment. He is currently halfway through his 15-year prison sentence.

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Stating security concerns, Egypt gags media

Egypt muzzles mediaMohamed Abo Zeid is out of words and hope.

His brother Mahmoud, a photojournalist, has become one of several names symbolizing perils facing journalists in Egypt. Mahmoud’s more than 600-days of captivity without trial or charges has left his family with nothing but despair and bitterness.

"It's been nearly two years and not a single development in the case — just a series of orders extending his incarceration,” Mohamed said. “No one knows why he's in jail. Not us. Not even the prosecutors."

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