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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Legal measures arbitrarily targeting "fake news" are picking up global steam.

Driving the news: The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Puerto Rican journalists who fear that two recent "fake news" laws will be used to punish them for their reporting on the coronavirus crisis.

  • The Puerto Rico laws make it a crime for journalists to report information about emergencies that the government considers “fake news."
  • They technically only apply to “false information,” but ACLU argues that the broad-based definition will inevitably be used to suppress true information.

The big picture: The tactic of targeting the press under the guise of stopping "fake news" is increasingly becoming more normalized.

  • Hungary's government passed a law in March that gives the government power to punish those who spread "false information" about the pandemic with up to five years in prison.
  • The Philippines passed a law in March that says journalists may face jail sentences of up to two months for "spreading false information" about the virus and a fine of up to $20,000, per CNN.
  • Singapore last year passed a law last year which allows the government to force online platforms to remove or correct information that it believes is false.

The bottom line: These examples and several others show ways the press is being shut out by the governments globally under the guise of stopping pandemic misinformation.

Go deeper

McSally: GOP would "never get the Senate back" if D.C. and Puerto Rico were states

Sen. Martha McSally on May 6 in Washington, DC. Photo: Shawn Thew via Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz) told NBC News that if Democrats take the Senate and grant statehood to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, Republicans would "never get the Senate back again."

Why it matters: McSally is facing a challenge from astronaut Mark Kelly in a competitive race that many believe could determine the balance of the Senate. "This is just the implications of this seat, the implications of this vote," McSally said after claiming that Democrats would get four new senators with D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 3 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.