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Weekly Digest: Rewriting History

Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every Friday, we bring you five important news stories from the world of media – and try to put them in a wider context.

Last Saturday, over 133,000 people took to the streets in France to protest a controversial provision in a draft law that would restrict publishing images of police officers.

The plan, which was proposed by President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party, banned sharing images of police officers with an “obvious intention to harm.” Critics, including the media community and some members of Macron’s party, argued the provision was too vague and could restrict good-faith efforts of exposing police brutality.

After the backlash, Macron’s group in the parliament promised on Monday that the controversial article will be “completely rewritten.”

Amnesty International released a new report that criticizes Facebook and YouTube of complicity on Vietnamese censorship.

According to the organization’s statement, big tech platforms are involved in “censorship and repression on an industrial scale,” while “groups affiliated to the government deploy sophisticated online campaigns on the platforms to harass everyday users into silence and fear.”

In the meanwhile, Indian authorities have ordered Wikipedia to remove a map the Indian government claims incorrectly depicts the country. In the event of the service’s refusal to comply with this direction, the government threatens to “take legal action against the company, including blocking access to the entire platform,” according to The Hindu.

Speaking of censorship and rewriting history – new reports show that China is trying to change the “Covid origin story,” arguing the novel coronavirus originated someplace other than Wuhan.

According to The Guardian, while Chinese authorities are actively trying to cast doubt on the fact that the coronavirus came from China, these claims are not considered credible by the Western scientific community.

Facebook announced it would launch Facebook News in the UK in January. It means that the company will pay some publishers to license news stories appearing in the News tab.

According to The Guardian, “some publishers are privately expecting to make millions of pounds a year from the multi-year deals they have signed with the social network,” which would be meaningful during the pandemic. Similarly to Facebook News in the US, the tab will feature not only algorithmically selected stories but also highlights by professional curators.

As Axios emphasises, Facebook has confirmed it is actively working on a similar project in France and Germany.

Three star reporters of Politico, an American and international politics-oriented outlet, are leaving the company to start their own daily newsletter. 

Although 2020 has seen a flock of star American journalists go from big publications to individual Substack-powered newsletters, this venture would be more ambitious. “Playbook,” a newsletter by Politico, is one of the biggest newsletters in the field. The three reports who helped shape “Playbook” are likely to replicate its success and scale, “especially if they quickly replicate their elite audience.”

Bonus — Five more stories you might want to check out:

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