July 13, 2017

Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who through his writing and activism relentlessly spoke truth to power and fought for justice in China, dies while serving an 11-year prison sentence. Today at 5pm, PEN America will gather writers and others inspired by his legacy near the Chinese Mission to UN in New York City; details on the public vigil are here. Meanwhile, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is marking his 41st birthday in a Siberian prison, sentenced to 20 years on charges human rights organizations dismiss as fabricated to silence his opposition to the Russian takeover of his native Crimea. In the United States, after two months of only doing interviews with Fox News hosts, Trump sits down with Reuters and the Christian Broadcasting Network; there have been no full-fledged press conferences since February. And a new study finds that Democrats and Republicans are about equally likely to seek out and pay for their news media. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


Trump’s first non-Fox News interview in over two months will be with the Christian Broadcasting Network
Trump has been criticized for favoring outlets that are friendly to his administration. Early on, CBN journalists were given preferential treatment in interviews and news conferences alongside reporters from other right-wing outlets.

New report finds little difference in how Democrats and Republicans consume news and what they will pay for
The report shows roughly equal percentages of Republicans and Democrats that actively seek out news, pay for news, and get news from social media.

Getting Trump banned from Twitter would be a huge mistake
Following calls for Twitter to delete Trump’s account, the executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation writes that such action “would be a mistake of gigantic proportions—not just for free expression on Twitter, but for those working to combat Trump’s agenda.”

Lawsuit says it’s unconstitutional for President Trump to block critics on Twitter
The lawsuit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute cites statements by White House staff that deem tweets from the president’s account as official statements.


Liu Xiaobo, Chinese dissident who won Nobel while jailed, dies at 61
Liu, who was being treated for liver cancer, was seen as a fearless advocate of peaceful democratic change. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Poroshenko, Tusk congratulate political prisoner Sentsov on his birthday
The Russian court sentenced Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov to 20 years in prison on trumped-up charges of plotting terrorist acts. Russia rejected Ukraine’s appeal for extradition of the filmmaker.

India’s censors now won’t allow the word ‘cow’ in a documentary about Harvard economist
India’s censorship board has increasingly come under fire for overzealous censorship and moral policing under the leadership of Pahlaj Nihalani, who appears to take offense at any implied criticism of India or Hinduism.

El Salvador media bill prompts ‘censorship’ claim
The proposed law says the press should self-regulate to produce “non-violent” content and promote peace, part of the government’s wider strategy to reduce the country’s murder rate.

Media crackdown silencing criticism of Turkish government
About 160 Turkish journalists are currently in jail, mostly on terrorism-related charges, while more than 150 media outlets, including broadcasters, newspapers, and magazines, have been shut down, leaving thousands unemployed.

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 loudertogether@pen.org