After a reportedly fierce internal fight between DeVos and Sessions, the Trump Administration withdraws an Obama era policy spelling out transgender students’ rights.‎ Meanwhile, the State Department press operation has gone radio silent, and Republican district town halls go raucous. -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 revokes Obama guidelines on transgender bathrooms
Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday revoked landmark guidance to public schools letting transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice, reversing a signature initiative of President Obama.

Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent
Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything has actually happened.

Tillerson looking for ways to raise his public profile
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has asked his aides to find ways to improve his media profile, a request that comes as U.S. diplomats increasingly worry about whether their new boss has enough influence with Trump. It’s a perception that extends to the State Department as a whole, in part because the agency has not held its traditional daily press briefing since Trump took office.

Media more trustworthy than Trump, poll finds
A Quinnipiac poll shows a dramatic split between Republicans and other Americans when it comes to matters of trust. The survey found that 52% of voters trust the media more than they trust Trump, while only 37% said they trusted Trump more. Among Democrats, 86% said they trusted the media more than the president.

Lincoln Center turns away woman wearing anti-Trump sign
Jenny Heinz, a longtime Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic subscriber, was barred from attending when she refused to remove an 8-by-11-inch sign affixed to the back of her jacket. Ms. Heinz, 72, said she had been wearing the sign since she attended a protest outside Trump Tower in November.


BBC journalist faces defamation charge in Thailand
A British journalist could face up to five years in a Thai jail after a lawyer brought a criminal defamation case against him over an investigation into fraud on a popular tourist island. Rights groups say the case exposes how Thailand’s defamation and computer crime laws promote endemic corruption.

With big red stamp, Russia singles out what it calls ‘Fake’ News
On Wednesday Russia’s Foreign Ministry unveiled a new section on its website meant to highlight articles that it considers to be fake news. Each article on the website carried a big red label reading “FAKE” in English and a line saying that the information in the article “does not correspond to reality”.

Pakistani journalists protest minister’s mistreatment of reporter
Journalists on Wednesday protested and chanted slogans against the Minister for Information Technology for threatening a reporter of a private TV channel for allegedly filming her with his cellphone on the Supreme Court’s premises.

Gambia: Barrow promises a fresh start, deals with history of injustice
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has promised sweeping reforms, saying his government will respect freedom of speech. Amongst some of Barrow’s first decisions as a president was the reversal of former president Yahya Jammeh’s announcement that Gambia would leave the International Criminal Court (ICC).

VICE’s Ben Makuch stands up for Canadian press freedom
While mainstream U.S. media outlets face an increasingly antagonistic Trump administration, Canadian journalists are confronting home-grown threats to press independence and integrity. On Saturday, a national day of action is being organized to protest the proposed expansion of police access to online information.

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