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Right-wing trolls embark on campaign of online harassment against verified users, many of whom are journalists, on Twitter (if you or someone you know is affected by online harassment, the PEN America Online Harassment Field Manual provides resources and possible recourse.) In defiance of Donald Trump’s threats and Commissioner Roger Goodell’s policy, NFL players continue to kneel during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice. Tronc, owner of newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News, considers selling its titles to a private equity firm. Fox News host Laura Ingraham attempts to justify and downplay racist commentary on her show Wednesday night, which was praised by former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke. Washington, D. C. braces for far-right nationalist rally this weekend on the anniversary of deadly protests in Charlottesville, VA. 2017 PEN/ Barbey Freedom to Write Award honoree Oleg Sentsov approaches the 90th day of his hunger strike. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Seeking Revenge for Alex Jones, Far-right Trolls Unleash Harassment on Verified Twitter Users
As Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made efforts to underscore the vital role of the press on the platform, a coordinated harassment campaign, seemingly originating from the message board 4chan and the white supremacist-friendly Twitter alternative Gab.ai, was targeting verified users, including dozens of journalists.

NFL Players Kneel and Raise Fists During Anthem, Defying Donald Trump and Roger Goodell
Athletes from teams around the country continue to kneel and raise their fists to protest social injustice during the national anthem. The NFL has gone to great lengths to try to put a stop to players kneeling during the anthem, going so far as to update league rules in May to explicitly ban kneeling or sitting during the anthem.

Donerail Group in Talks to Buy Chicago Tribune Owner Tronc
If a deal is reached, Tronc would become the latest US newspaper publisher to fall in the hands of a private equity firm or a hedge fund, as regional papers struggle with declining circulation amid the proliferation of online media. Tronc sold the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and others to billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong in February.

Laura Ingraham’s Immigration Comments Are Different Words for the Same Trump-era Rhetoric
“Ingraham started her commentary on immigration with ‘In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America we know and love don’t exist anymore.’ Trump and Fox News recognize the value of marketing white anxiety to their supporters. Ingraham’s comments are the most recent example but should be viewed as a continuation of the theme, not its introduction.”

Unite the Right: Permit Granted for Washington DC Far-right Rally
The National Park Service has granted officials permits for the rally and counter-protests on 12 August. Organizer, white nationalist Jason Kessler, is also behind last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. The “Unite the Right 2” rally will be held near the White House and about 400 people are expected to attend.


France’s Macron to raise hunger striker Oleg Sentsov in call with Putin *PEN Case List
President Emmanuel Macron will speak with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Friday about jailed Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who has been on hunger strike since May. Reports have emerged that his condition is critical.

Star Scholar Disappears as Crackdown Engulfs Western China
Rahile Dawut has written extensively and lectured around the world on Uighurs’ varied traditions; her research was funded by Chinese government ministries. She disappeared in December and has not been heard from since. Family and close friends suspect she was detained as part of a severe clampdown on Uighurs.

Family of Murdered Maltese Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Demand Public Inquiry into Her Death
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family has accused Malta’s government of failing to investigate her death properly and called for a full public inquiry. The journalist, who had reported on money-laundering and corruption, was killed when a bomb destroyed her car last October.

Pussy Riot Activist Defies Travel Ban to Flee Russia for Edinburgh
Maria Alyokhina has smuggled herself out of Russia after being barred by the Russian government from travelling to perform at the Edinburgh festival fringe. Following the ban, Alyokhina drove more than 1,000 km through Belarus, and then into Lithuania in the European Union, where she boarded a flight for the UK.

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