Back from his foreign trip and besieged by new revelations, Trump reclaims his Twitter account to cast blame on the media. He was criticized for being slow to extend condolences to the families of two men in Portland who were killed when intervening in the harassment of a Muslim woman passenger on public transport. White House Communications Director resigns amid rumors of a wider shake-up. Something new to worry about: hackers can now hide cyberattacks in social media posts. -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 Praises Troops as White House Grapples With Kushner Report
After nearly nine days abroad he characterized as a “home run”, Trump marked his return to the U.S. this weekend with a flurry of Twitter posts about a Republican health care overhaul, a double-murder in Oregon, the North Korean missile test and several messages lashing out at the “fake news” media after not holding a press conference once during his overseas trip.

White House communications director stepping down
White House communications director Mike Dubke is leaving the administration, he said Tuesday, amid swirling speculation about a possible Trump staff shakeup. He declined to discuss the turmoil inside the West Wing, only saying he was resigning “for a number of reasons — for personal reasons.”

Portland attack: Donald Trump condemns killings
US President Donald Trump has condemned as “unacceptable” the killing of two men who had tried to stop a man abusing a Muslim teenager and her friend. Mr Trump had been facing mounting criticism for his silence over the deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best in Portland on Friday.

Hackers Hide Cyberattacks in Social Media Posts
It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn’t come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document. A link, attached to a Twitter post put out by a robot account, promised a family-friendly vacation package for the summer. It was the kind of thing anyone might click on, according to the official hit by the attack.


The ‘fake news’ trope is making it harder to fight state-sanctioned violence in Asia
In a region full of young democracies, journalists and press freedom advocates are alarmed by politicians’ eager uptake of memes spawned by the Trump election and presidency in response to human rights allegations. “What Trump is doing in the U.S. is enabling and empowering authoritarians all over the world,” said Karin Karlekar, director of PEN America’s Free Expression at Risk Programs. “The ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ rhetoric is particularly disturbing because it’s not just attacking the press, but aims to delegitimize journalism.”

Egypt blocks 21 websites for ‘terrorism’ and ‘fake news’
Egypt has banned 21 websites, including the main website of Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and prominent local independent news site Mada Masr, accusing them of supporting terrorism and spreading false news. The blockade is notable in scope and for being the first publicly recognized by the government. The move follows similar actions taken on Wednesday by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which blocked Al Jazeera and other websites after a dispute with Qatar.

Outspoken Chinese law professor, government critic, silenced
He Weifang told The Associated Press Friday that he would no longer publish on social media after authorities repeatedly shut down his personal blog, his Weibo microblog and two WeChat accounts. He, a famed law professor and key defender of imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, is the latest public intellectual to throw in the towel in President Xi Jinping’s China. Over the past half-decade, freedom of speech and other civil liberties have been rolled back while a radical movement devoted to the People’s Republic’s authoritarian founder Mao Zedong has flourished.

Kenya: ‘Not Worth the Risk’: Threats to Free Expression Ahead of Kenya’s 2017 Elections
An independent media is crucial for Kenya’s ability to hold free and fair elections. But rather than protecting free expression and media rights – guaranteed by Kenya’s Constitution and international human rights law – Kenyan officials have responded to critical press coverage with harassment, threats, criminal charges, withholding of advertising revenue and even violence against journalists and media outlets.

Venezuela increases internet censorship and surveillance in crisis
The country is currently in a state of emergency after two months of anti-government protests that have caused the deaths of over 50 people and led to violent confrontations with the police. Citizens are furious with president Nicolás Maduro, who has been using emergency powers since 2015 to pass laws without congressional approval. As that anger has translated into protests, the government has responded by trying to shut it down.