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Government bodies, from school districts to state agencies, are filing lawsuits against individuals making requests for public records. Over the weekend, President Trump retweets doctored video of himself hitting Hillary Clinton with golf ball. Former State Department whistle-blower forms legal aid office to help would-be whistle-blowers report government misdeeds lawfully. Police in St. Louis make dozens of arrests as protests over acquittal of police officer over the shooting of a black motorist turn violent. The surprise Emmy appearance of former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, whose tenure was marked by the promotion of falsehoods, draws strong reactions from viewers and commentators. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator

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


Governments turn tables by suing public records requesters
The lawsuits ask judges to rule that the records being sought do not have to be divulged. They name the requesters as defendants but do not seek damage awards. Still, this has alarmed freedom-of-information advocates, who say it’s becoming a new way for governments to hide information, delay disclosure and intimidate critics.

Trump Tweets Doctored GIF of His Golf Ball Hitting Hillary Clinton
It’s not the first time one of the president’s tweets has made light of violence. Twitter is fertile ground for insults and other aggressive behavior, and the president’s contributions have been numerous.

Former whistleblower starts legal aid group to guide would-be tipsters
“Whistleblowing can be a challenge for people who have taken an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” co-founder John Tye stated. “We are definitely concerned about things that are happening in the administration. The lack of transparency.”

St. Louis officers chant ‘whose streets, our streets’ while arresting protesters
Some protesters complained that police were unnecessarily aggressive. Those protesters were eventually greeted by police officers dressed in riot gear. Police said they gave demonstrators an hour’s notice before making the mass arrests just before midnight.

Angry Viewers Are In No Mood To Laugh At Sean Spicer’s Emmy Jokes
Spicer’s tenure serving in the Trump administration was marked by frequent controversies. Members of the viewing public were quick to call out the problem with allowing Spicer himself to laugh off what became the first of many lies and misstatements the press secretary used to defend Trump.


Egypt guilty of kidnap, torture and abuse, says former detainee
Hussein Baoumi, Amnesty International’s Egypt campaigner, said Tarek Hussein’s ordeal echoed the larger human rights crisis in Egypt, where a state of emergency is in place, unsanctioned protests are outlawed and several journalists have been jailed and hundreds of websites censored in crackdown on freedom of expression.

Indian journalists work in an ‘atmosphere of intimidation’
Monobina Gupta states, “Fighting back with the pen means reviving the tradition of dissent and reclaiming lost ground, in which journalism should be seen as an institution which cannot be browbeaten by intimidation. The way you fight back is by writing your mind … using whatever form of media at your disposal.”

Independent Azerbaijani Journalist Gets Lengthy Prison Term
The court sentenced a journalist known for criticizing the government to nine years in prison after a trial his lawyer contends was politically motivated. Many say President Ilham Aliyev’s government has sought to maintain power by persecuting independent media outlets, journalists, and opposition politicians and activists.

2 Myanmar journalists arrested in Bangladesh
Police chief Ranajit Barua confirmed the arrests and said the two had violated immigration rules by entering Bangladesh on tourist visas and working as journalists. He described them as acting against Bangladesh’s interests and said they face up to seven years in jail if found guilty.

Snapchat Removes Al Jazeera Channel in Saudi Arabia
A spokesman for Al Jazeera said Snap’s move appears to be “an attempt to silence freedom of expression.” U.S. tech giants have wrestled with the question of how to deal with oppressive regimes who seek to censor or limit the free speech and free access to information their services typically provide.

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