While some TV pundits were swooning over presidential appearances, reporters were hard at work digging into, among other things, the now Attorney General’s campaign meetings with the Russian ambassador, and the now Vice President’s private email account use as governor. Across the federal government, the new administration is seen as cracking down on “leakers,’’ AKA the sources who brought to light, for example, the draft intelligence report that found little evidence of a threat from citizens of the Muslim-majority countries covered by the travel ban. What to watch for: will the new Secretary of State stay away from the upcoming public release of the State Department’s annual Human Rights Report?
-Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


Trump aides’ bid to plug leaks creates unease among some civil servants
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin used his first senior staff meeting last month to tell his new aides he would not tolerate leaks to the news media. Civil servants say the clampdown seems to be designed to try and deter officials from talking to the media about topics that could result in negative stories.

Journalists covering Standing Rock face charges as police arrest protesters
Several journalists at the Dakota Access Pipeline are facing charges, including trespass and engaging in riots, after being caught in mass arrests as police cracked down on protests or tried to clear camps in recent months.

House intelligence chair threatens reporters with investigation
Representative Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, threatened reporters with investigation after they questioned him about looking into contacts between members of President Trump’s administration and Russian officials.

Rubio chides Tillerson over absence on Human Rights Report’s launch
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is coming under fire by Sen. Marco Rubio and others for breaking with tradition and staying away from the upcoming public release of the State Department’s annual Human Rights Report.

While pundits swooned over Trump’s speech, reporters plugged away at the real story
The strength of the reporting on blockbuster stories from two rival newspapers made the weakness of the punditry after Trump’s address to Congress easier to take for those who care about the media’s credibility.


BBC crew attacked in China and forced to sign confession
A BBC camera crew reporting in China was attacked and later forced by police to apologise and sign a confession for trying to conduct an “illegal interview”, one of its reporters has said.

Chadian journalist released from detention
A Chadian journalist has been released without charge after four days in detention over the publication of an article criticizing the president. He had been taken into custody by a counter-espionage force linked directly to the president’s office.

Greek court drops case against blogger who satirized Orthodox monk
An appeals court nullified a 10-month suspended prison sentence imposed on a Greek blogger who ran a satirical webpage titled “Geron Pastitsios” (Elder Pastitsios) for “insulting religion”, ending his five-year legal battle.

China’s Response to Reports of Torture: ‘Fake News’
President Trump’s harangues against the American news media appear to have inspired a new genre of commentary in China’s state media, whose propagandists spiced up social media posts and news articles with Trumpian flourishes this week.

Thailand media bill a paradox between journalist ethics and junta’s regulations
The bill states the publication of news and content must follow journalistic ethics and social morality and avoid content that creates a negative impact. However, the bill remains unclear about what “journalistic ethics” and “social morality” mean.

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