Comey’s Congressional testimony is today’s must-see TV, riveting an anxious nation. Journalists, pundits, and legal scholars engage in close textual analysis of Comey’s prepared testimony detailing his meetings with Trump. Greg Gianforte, Montana Congressman-elect who attacked a reporter in a rage, issues apology and makes donation to settle civil case. Studies aim to get to the root of how Facebook is being used to sway today’s UK election. – Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director


DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


‘Must-See TV’: Free Drinks and Canceled Meetings for Comey’s Testimony
Americans do not agree on much these days. But millions are expected to pause on Thursday to take in a spectacle already being compared to other political-cultural touchstones, like the Army-McCarthy hearings and Anita Hill’s testimony about Clarence Thomas. This time, Mr. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, will dish to the Senate Intelligence Committee about President Trump, the man who fired him.

Comey Opening Statement For Senate Intelligence Hearing, Annotated
In his opening statement, Comey says President Trump asked him for “loyalty” at a dinner in January and later in the Oval Office said he “hope[d] you can let” the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn “go.” The White House has denied that Trump ever asked for the investigation to be shut down. Here are his full prepared remarks, annotated by NPR journalists.

Gianforte to give $50,000 to press freedom group after assaulting reporter
Greg Gianforte has agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists and has issued a formal apology as part of a civil settlement with reporter Ben Jacobs. In a letter, Gianforte (R.-Mont.) wrote “I write to express my sincere apology for my conduct on the evening of May 24. My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful. As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard.”

Republican Politicians Seem Emboldened By Trump’s Media-Bashing
Though Trump can’t be blamed for everything a local politician does or says, he has set the tone from the White House by routinely mocking journalists while disregarding the press as a vital part of a functioning democracy. And journalists keep becoming the punchlines of violent jokes. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Trump on May 17 how the president could use a ceremonial saber on the press. Texas Governor Greg Abbott joked on May 26 about shooting journalists.

Trump’s Not the Only One Blocking Constituents on Twitter
As President Trump faces criticism for blocking users on Twitter, people across the country say they, too, have been cut off by elected officials at all levels of government after voicing dissent on social media.The growing combat over social media is igniting a new-age legal debate over whether losing this form of access to public officials violates constituents’ First Amendment rights to free speech and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Those who’ve been blocked say it’s akin to being thrown out of a town hall meeting for holding up a protest sign.

Op-Ed: Actually, hate speech is protected speech
In the past year we’ve seen Nazis and white supremacists rally in our cities, angry protesters chase provocateurs off college campuses, a comedian wield a bloody effigy of the president’s severed head, and slurs and overt racial animus made a staple of political discourse. Controversial speech has people talking about what restrictions, if any, society can enforce on words we despise. That inquiry isn’t inherently bad. The dilemma is that the public debate about free speech relies on useless cliches, not on accurate information about the law.


Facebook’s Role in European Elections Under Scrutiny
Facebook provides little information on how political parties use ads to reach undecided voters, and concern has been growing since the American presidential election about the company’s role in campaigns, including about how politically charged fake news is spread online. Now, as voters head to the polls across Europe, groups in Britain, Germany and elsewhere are fighting back, creating new ways to track and monitor digital political ads and misinformation on the social network and on other digital services like Twitter and Google.

China Purges Critics in Hong Kong 20 Years After Handover
Hong Kong is emblematic of the growing confidence with which China has exercised power under President Xi Jinping — whether disregarding an international tribunal ruling on its claims in the South China Sea or jailing human-rights advocates at home. The city, with its free speech, independent courts and capitalist financial system, provides a window on Xi’s approach to the institutions of Western democracy.

U.S. Lawmakers Condemn Turkish Embassy Attack
Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) was one of many lawmakers to condemn an attack on protesters outside the Turkish embassy last month: “Mr. Speaker, I stand here today to affirm that we will not allow Turkey to beat innocent protesters on the streets of our nation’s capital. We will continue to pursue justice, and to make clear that America will always stand up for the right of peaceful and free expression.”

Myanmar Journalists Unite Against Online Defamation Law
More than 100 journalists gathered in Yangon to plan their campaign against Section 66(d) of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law, which refers to online defamation and was often used to charge activists, journalists, and other government critics. Since 2016, 61 defamation cases have been filed under Section 66(d), of which 14 involve journalists who have been charged and are awaiting trial.

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