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Eyes of a nation are riveted on hearings including Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and alleged assault victim Christine Blasey Ford as furious public debate rages over truth, proof, privilege, who deserves to be believed, and the reverberations of the #metoo movement. Artist projects protest against Kavanaugh on Supreme Court exterior. Trump accuses China of interference in upcoming midterm elections, including through the spread of fraudulent news. Lone black state legislator in Vermont resigns, citing hateful speech. PEN America CEO testifies at Congressional hearing on protecting free speech at US college campuses. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer

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


Before Kavanaugh Hearing, New Accusations and Doubts Emerge
As both Judge Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford prepare to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh and his allies found themselves fending off more charges of sexual misconduct. Trump described these as “false accusations,” but seemed to acknowledge the challenges facing his nominee for the first time.

Artist Projects “Brett Kavanaugh Is a Sexual Predator” Onto DC Courthouse
Artist and activist Robin Bell projected messages including “Brett Kavanaugh Is a Sexual Predator,” “#BelieveSurvivors,” “Brett Kavanaugh Must Withdraw,” and “Brett Kavanaugh Lied Every Time He Testified” onto the E. Barrett Prettyman United States courthouse, Kavanaugh’s professional base in Washington DC.

Trump Accuses China of Trying to Interfere in U.S. Elections
At the United Nations Wednesday, Trump said China was trying to interfere in the midterm elections and damage the Republican Party in retaliation for his stance on trade and tariffs, including by using newspaper ads to target voters in areas most affected by retaliatory tariffs.

Black Female Lawmaker in Vermont Resigns After Racial Harassment
Kiah Morris, the only black woman in the Vermont House of Representatives, announced her resignation a month after ending her re-election bid because of what she described as a yearslong campaign of racially motivated harassment and threats. Morris said, “There was vandalism within our home. We found… swastikas painted on the trees in the woods near where we live.”

Debate over Campus Free Speech Back before House
During a hearing convened by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on campus policies that Republican lawmakers say restrict free speech, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel challenged the Justice Department’s approach to campus free speech, telling lawmakers the issue must not become “politicized or partisan.”


On 136th Day of Hunger Strike, Oleg Sentsov Says He Won’t Give Up *PEN Case List
In a letter from jail to human rights activist Zoya Svetova, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who entered the 136th day of his hunger strike on Wednesday, has vowed “not to give up,” saying he still believes in a good outcome but does not know how much longer he’ll last.

‘Fake news’ Journalist Made Chair of Italy’s State Broadcaster
Marcello Foa, a Eurosceptic journalist who has often shared stories proven to be fake, has been appointed president of Rai, Italy’s state broadcaster, by the governing coalition of the far-right League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) despite concerns from journalists’ unions.

Kuwait Activists Combat Rise in Banning of Books
More than 4,000 books have been blacklisted by Kuwait’s information ministry over the past five years, including Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Dozens of writers and activists have taken to the streets to protest ahead of Kuwait’s annual book fair in mid-November.

Artists Offer Support after Museum Director Stepped Down to Protest Censorship
Over 150 artists and arts professionals have signed a petition in support of João Ribas, former director of Portugal’s Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, who stepped down after an exhibition of works by the late American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was subject to censorship over photographs with explicit content.

China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation.’
In far western China, an imposing building sits behind a fence topped with barbed wire. Inside, hundreds of ethnic Uighurs spend their days in a high-pressure indoctrination program, where they are forced to listen to lectures, sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party, and write “self-criticism” essays, according to detainees who have been released.

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 DARE@pen.org