President Trump calls Chinese President Xi Jinping a “very good man” just hours after famed writer Liu Xiaobo dies in Chinese custody. An hour-long off-the-record conversation with journalists aboard Air Force One is later reported, apparently after Trump asks why his remarks hadn’t been published. No press allowed as the president and First Lady speak with U.S. Embassy staff in Paris, but the White House tweets out video. Late night shows with distinctly political bent dominate the Emmy nominations. -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 praises Xi soon after death of Chinese dissident
President Donald Trump had plenty of praise for Xi Jinping on Thursday, hours after jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died in a state hospital. In a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump called Xi a friend and a great leader he respects. “He’s a very talented man. I think he’s a very good man. He loves China, I can tell you. He loves China. He wants to do what’s right for China,” Trump said in Paris.

Excerpts of transcripts between Trump and press on Air Force One
The following are excerpts of White House transcripts of a conversation between President Donald Trump and the press on July 12 aboard Air Force One. They were previously off-the-record, but the White House has chosen to release these excerpts to the public.

The key to the Trump-Russia scandal? Follow the data
With all the drama over this week’s bombshell disclosures of Donald Trump Jr.’s emails and a previously unknown Trump Tower meeting between top campaign officials and a woman who’d been pitched to them as “a Russian government lawyer,” there was another investigative report that arguably could have equal or greater significance in the ongoing probes of wrongdoing in the 2016 campaign. It said probers are now taking a much closer look at possible cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign’s data operation.

The Latest: Trumps, Macrons dine high above Paris
The following is a detailed report of President Donald Trump’s time in Paris. The report includes his visit to the U.S. Embassy, where no press was allowed, and his many comments made to French President Emmanuel Macron. The president is calling his Paris visit “very nice.”

Trump’s biggest critics in late night nab big Emmy nods
President Trump’s biggest critics in late night received television’s biggest acclaim on Thursday morning. “It seems pretty clear that to impress with comedy this season you had to have a point of view about what we used to call ‘current affairs’ and we now call the Trump Administration,” said Bill Carter, an analyst who has written two books about late-night TV.


The spirit of Liu Xiaobo
How Liu Xiaobo died says a lot about modern China and the fears of modern Chinese leaders. The government in Beijing controls a nuclear weapons arsenal and throws its weight around in international affairs. Yet it was afraid to hear the democratic ideas advocated at great cost by a courageous man of conscience.

UN urges Venezuelan government to allow citizens to participate in unofficial referendum to rewrite constitution
The United Nations called on Venezuela’s government on Friday to let people take part in an unofficial referendum on the constitution and make sure security forces do not use excessive force against protestors. “We urge authorities to respect the wishes of those who want to participate in this consultation and to guarantee people’s rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” UN human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell told a Geneva news briefing.

Irish journalist heads Google-funded study to tackle fake news
City University of London journalism researchers will lead a major European push to combat ‘fake news’ after being awarded a new grant by the Google Digital News Initiative to help journalists find and verify information in big data. The app combines machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to help journalists fact check, make sense of data, and verify information.

Asia Society and one of its leaders are at odds over Hong Kong
Last week, the Asia Society sought to put behind it accusations that it had censored a prominent democracy activist in Hong Kong. But at a luncheon on Thursday at the organization’s Manhattan headquarters, the issue arose again when Ronnie Chan, a Hong Kong billionaire and the society’s co-chairman, asserted that the group was apolitical and should steer clear of disputes.

Pro-democracy journalist Jom granted asylum status in United States
Fugitive pro-democracy journalist Jom Petchpradab, who fled Thailand after the 2014 coup, has been granted asylum status in the United States. The status increases his chance of getting a green card and U.S. citizenship, he said in a Facebook post on Thursday. Jom left the country after the coup in 2014 when he did not report to the junta despite a summons.

Ukraine is breaching international standards with new laws regarding NGOs
President Petro Poroshenko’s Press Service announced on July 8 that he was tabling a package of draft bills which would cancel a highly contentious norm targeting anti-corruption NGOs and investigative journalists. That law, signed into force by the president in March, required that such anti-corruption watchdogs present e-declarations, like the public officials whose corrupt dealings they often expose. It was widely condemned both within Ukraine and by Ukraine’s international partners.


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