House Republicans propose fining members of Congress who shoot video or take photos from the chamber floor (as happened when the Democrats’ gun control sit-in was streamed live online), opening a question of constitutionality. But waves of Twitter-fueled and media-covered “micro-controversies” offer an easy distraction from debating this and other such weighty matters.
-Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer


DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


Republicans Move to Punish Broadcasting, Photography From House Floor
House Republicans have proposed punishing representatives who shoot video or take photos on the floor of the chamber — a change in rules seen as a direct response to a dramatic sit-in in June by House Democrats demanding a vote on gun control legislation that was streamed live online.

Professor behind ‘white genocide’ tweet says he has university support
A Drexel University professor, whose tweet that he wanted “white genocide” for Christmas sparked a firestorm of criticism from the school and social media, said on Tuesday that administrators supported his right to take part in political debate.

Trump Unlikely to Change His Twitter Habits
Donald Trump said that once he became president he would be “very restrained” on Twitter. That claim has gone from “dubious” to “totally impossible to believe” as we’ve watched the president-elect recklessly tweet about topics as diverse as China, Vanity Fair, nuclear weapons, and Alec Baldwin.

Another university flunks the free-speech test
Administrators at Drexel University, a Philadelphia institution, showed they either don’t know much about history, or simply find it more palatable to display themselves as cowards than to stand firm behind a faculty member.

The dark side of social media can no longer be ignored
Heading into 2017, several social media networks are now facing existential questions as a result. What are their larger societal responsibilities? Do their benefits outweigh their negatives? Can they survive in their current forms?


Egyptian Prosecution Imprisons Al-Jazeera Journalist For 15 days
Judicial sources said that Egypt’s Supreme State Security Prosecution yesterday ordered the imprisonment of an Al-Jazeera journalist named Mahmoud Hussein for 15 days pending investigation on charges including preparing “fabricated” reports about the country to broadcast on the Qatari satellite channel.

Kazakh Man Given 3 Years for Insulting Putin
A 46-year old in Aktobe was found guilty and sentenced to three years in a penal colony for criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin on Facebook.

Czech Republic to fight ‘fake news’ with specialist unit
The government is to set up a specialist “anti-fake news” unit as officials attempt to tackle falsehoods, predominantly about migrants, which they claim are spread by websites supported by the government of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Lawyers urge Egypt to lift travel ban on ‘Facebook Girl’ journalist
Journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah was prevented from leaving Egypt in January 2015 to take up a scholarship at Stanford university in California because a judge issued an order on the grounds that she had allegedly received foreign funding.

Facebook safety check helped spread false reports of Thailand explosion
Company claimed one-man protest involving ‘giant firecrackers’ led to activation, but it also promoted a link to a false report of a major ‘explosion’.

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