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White House allies wage campaign to discredit Russia investigation on first anniversary of Robert Mueller III’s appointment as special counsel. Trump uses “animals” in discussion of immigrants, and debate ensues about what the context was and whether it matters. (See PEN America statement here). Twitter chief executive makes first visit to Capitol Hill in possible prelude to Congressional testimony on company’s privacy practices. Software developed to help journalists verify content on social media is found to be used to monitor the videos and images viewed by the reporters. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer


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


‘Bigger than Watergate’: Trump Joins Push by Allies to Expose Role of an FBI Source
President Trump’s allies are waging a campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing the role of a top-secret FBI source. Trump predicts that the ensuing scandal would be “bigger than Watergate!”

Debate Over Whether Context Matters: Trump’s ‘animals’ Comment
Several news organizations took remarks Trump made out of context to suggest all undocumented immigrants are “animals”. However, given Trump’s history of railing against immigrants, debate ensues over whether context matters.

Lawmakers Are Nudging Twitter CEO to Testify Before Congress on Privacy
Jack Dorsey, in his first-ever visit to the U.S. Capitol, was encouraged to come testify to Congress as part of their probe into the privacy practices of the country’s largest tech companies.

Revealed: Storyful Uses Tool to Monitor What Reporters Watch
Software developed by Storyful, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, to help journalists verify content on social media is also being used to monitor the videos and images viewed by reporters who use the tool.

Legislating Censorship in California
California is considering a bill that could silence certain speech that doesn’t align with the government’s position on human sexuality. It could prevent people from hearing information and coming to their own conclusions about controversial issues.


‘Safe Zones’ Around Abortion Clinics Don’t Threaten Free Speech, Victoria Says
“Safe access zones” around abortion clinics do not breach Australians’ limited right to free speech because protesters are not engaged in public debate but rather targeting women for their medical choices, the Victorian government has said.

Germany’s Attempt to Fix Facebook Is Backfiring
Germany’s new Network Enforcement Act, which mandates that social media companies delete “manifestly unlawful” posts within 24 hours or risk heavy fines, has been hailed as a success by some and a blow to free speech by others.

LGBT Events Spring Up On Chinese Campuses
Marking International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on May 17, college and high school students rallied on campuses across China in an effort to raise awareness of LGBT rights violations.

Vietnam to Repress Facebook and Google, Threatening Dissidents
The latest conflict focuses on the new cybersecurity legislation that will be approved by Vietnamese lawmakers at the end of the month. Its aim is to impose new legal requirements on Internet companies and hardens the police of online dissent.

WHO Bows to China Pressure, Contravenes Human Rights in Refusing Taiwan Media
A decision by the UN World Health Organization to deny reporting accreditation to Taiwanese journalists has triggered a furor over whether Chinese pressure is forcing the UN to contravene its human rights commitments.

DARE is a project of PEN America’s #LouderTogether campaign, bringing you a daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. Send your feedback and story suggestions to [email protected]