The Trump White House scrutinizes the cellphones of Communications shop staffers in search for leakers. Meanwhile, more than 20 Jewish centers and schools across the country are targeted with spurious bomb threats forcing evacuations, and Trump’s budget proposals would eviscerate diplomacy and foreign aid. – Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


Sources: Trump signed off on checking White House staffers’ phones
President Donald Trump signed off on press secretary Sean Spicer’s decision to check aides’ cell phones to make certain they weren’t communicating with reporters by text message or through encrypted apps.

More bomb threats at Jewish schools and community centers, and another Jewish cemetery is vandalized
Threatening calls are pouring in to Jewish schools and community centers with alarming frequency. Although authorities said no bombs had been located so far, the threats were tying up bomb squads and detectives, terrifying children, and prompting some worried parents to withdraw their children.

US foreign aid expected to be biggest casualty of Trump’s first budget
US spending on overseas aid is expected to bear the brunt of dramatic cuts as part of Trump’s plan to increase defense spending by $54 billion in his upcoming budget. The indications Monday suggested to humanitarians that he was going to make good on a campaign pledge to “stop sending foreign aid to countries that hate us”.

A constitutional right to Facebook and Twitter? Supreme Court weighs in
A Supreme Court argument on Monday about whether North Carolina may bar registered sex offenders from using Facebook, Twitter and similar services turned into a discussion of how social media has transformed American civic discourse. The remarks suggested that they would strike down the law under the First Amendment.

Jon Stewart’s message for the media: Stop whining about Trump
The former Daily Show host stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday night to deliver an almost 10-minute rant about President Trump and his contentious relationship with the press.


Cambodian government cites Trump in threatening foreign news outlets
In a sign that President Trump’s criticism of the news media may be having a ripple effect overseas, a government spokesman in Cambodia has cited the American leader in threatening to shutter foreign news outlets, including some that receive money from Washington.

Turkey jails reporter from Germany’s Die Welt paper
Turkish authorities on Monday arrested reporter Deniz Yucelon from prominent German newspaper Die Welt on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting the public to violence.

Australian intelligence given access to journalists’ phone and web records
Australia’s attorney general, George Brandis, appears to have granted the country’s domestic spy agency access to journalists’ metadata in a small number of cases, the agency’s head has revealed.

Palestinian journalist describes days of torture, mysterious injections by Palestinian Intelligence
The Palestinian Authority is facing accusations from rights groups of subjecting Sami al-Saai, a news editor and reporter, to “brutal” torture. Al-Saai was arrested by Palestinian Intelligence Services and after spending 20 days under arrest, was released from Jericho prison where he says he was tortured.

Universities spark free speech row after halting pro-Palestinian events
British universities have been accused of undermining freedom of speech on campus after canceling events organized by students as part of an annual pro-Palestinian event called Israel Apartheid Week.

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