President Trump defends Bill O’Reilly from snowballing sexual harassment revelations saying the embattled talk show host‎ did nothing wrong. Pepsi pulls an ad that depicted mass protests being quelled by the offer of a cola amid criticism the video, featuring social media personality Kendall Jenner, trivialized social justice movements and the risks protesters incur. The German Bundestag advances a new measure to impose stiff fines on fake news and hate speech disseminated on social media sites. PEN America to give the Women’s March the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Courage Award for catalyzing citizen mobilization in defense of rights and freedoms. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

PEN America’s take on today’s most pressing threats to free expression


Trump defends Bill O’Reilly: ‘I don’t think Bill did anything wrong’
In an interview with The New York Times, Trump defended O’Reilly against new revelations that he, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox had paid a total of $13 million in settlements to five women who accused him of sexual harassment or verbal abuse.

Pepsi Pulls Ad Accused of Trivializing Black Lives Matter
Pepsi has apologized for a controversial advertisement that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement, after a day of intense criticism from people who said it trivialized the widespread protests against the killings of black people by the police.

The Historic Women’s March After President Trump’s Inauguration Just Won a Prestigious Award
The worldwide women’s marches that millions attended the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration are being honored at this year’s PEN Literary Gala. PEN America said on Wednesday that “The Women’s March” has won the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award.

Kids’ book authors and publishers are so afraid to offend they’re hiring “sensitivity readers”
In a culture newly aware of micro-aggressions and offensive speech, what you say can easily strike the wrong tone. One increasingly common solution among US book publishers: Hire someone to be offended for you. “Sensitivity readers,” starting at a small fee of $250 a manuscript, read unpublished works and ask, “Would my community find this disrespectful? Does this sound authentic?”

Why Authoritarians Attack the Arts
Art creates pathways for subversion, for political understanding and solidarity among coalition builders. Art teaches us that lives other than our own have value. Like the proverbial court jester who can openly mock the king in his own court, artists who occupy marginalized social positions can use their art to challenge structures of power in ways that would otherwise be dangerous or impossible.


Social media firms faces huge hate speech fines in Germany
German ministers have approved plans to fine social media firms up to 50m euros ($53.3m) if they fail to remove hate speech and fake news quickly. The proposed law would give the companies 24 hours to block obviously criminal content after it had been reported, and seven days for other offensive material.

Pakistani minister says the government is working on a “Journalist Safety and Security Bill”
Minister of State for Information Maryam Aurangzeb says the government is working on “Journalist Safety and Security Bill” to ensure security to media persons. The State Minister said any attack on media is an attack on Pakistan and the government will not tolerate it.

Malian journalist sentenced for defaming National Assembly President
A court in Bamako on Wednesday sentenced head of private Malian newspaper Le Figaro to six months in prison for defaming the President of the National Assembly, Issaka Sidibe.

Russia Is Trying to Copy China’s Approach to Internet Censorship
The internet is also a powerful tool for Putin’s opposition. The internet helped spark Russia’s largest anti-government protests in five years. Russia responded by blocking access to webpages that promoted demonstrations.This is part of a larger story. Just a few years ago, Russians had a mostly free internet. Now, Russian authorities would like to imitate China’s model of internet control.

Central European University’s Complicated Legal Geographies
Central European University is facing some major challenges regarding its future existence. On April 4, the Hungarian government amended the Hungarian Education law in a way that would make further operations of the CEU in Hungary almost impossible, in a move that many see as an attack on academic freedom.

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