Donald Trump makes official his move to eliminate all federal funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, initiatives to pursue research advances in science and health, and much, much more. Meanwhile, two federal judges have halted implementation of the White House’s new version of the Muslim travel ban, ruling that the executive order still amounts to religious discrimination. Dutch voters, however, turn down far-right politician Geert Wilders. -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 proposes eliminating the arts and humanities endowments
A deep fear came to pass for many artists, museums, and cultural organizations nationwide early Thursday morning when President Trump, in his first federal budget plan, proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Federal judge in Hawaii blocks new travel ban nationwide; Trump vows to pursue his case ‘all the way’
A judge has blocked the major provisions of Trump’s revised ban on refugee resettlement and travel from six predominantly Muslim countries. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said his ruling applies nationwide and will go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a ruling blocking Trump’s original travel ban.

State Dept. correspondents ‘disappointed’ by Tillerson press access
The State Department Correspondents’ Association says it is “disappointed” by the number of reporters accompanying Tillerson on his trip to Asia this week. After saying it was unable to accommodate press on the plane due to space and budget constraints, the State Department offered a unilateral seat to one reporter.

Trump wants to cut the NEA and NEH. This is the worst-case scenario for arts groups
Although the budgets of the four organizations slated for elimination are negligible as a percentage of the larger federal budget, they play a vital role in a cultural economy built on a system of federal stimulus. Federal dollars are used to leverage state, local and private funding that supports a complex network of arts and culture.

Trump: ‘No idea’ how media got 2005 tax returns
Trump on Wednesday said he has “no idea” how two pages of his 2005 tax returns were leaked — even as some in the media speculate that he is the source himself. MSNBC announced Monday that it had obtained Trump’s 2005 Form 1040, revealing that Trump had reported $150 million in income and paid $38 million in taxes.


Dutch elections: Turkish minister claims ‘holy wars will soon begin in Europe’ after Geert Wilders beaten
A Turkish minister has claimed “holy wars will soon begin” in Europe, in spite of the defeat of far-right leader Geert Wilders in the Netherlands elections. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, did not welcome the victory for Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy.

Turkish court rejects appeal to release ‘Die Welt’ journalist Denis Yucel
German newspaper “Die Welt” correspondent Deniz Yucel was arrested in February on charges of carrying out “propaganda for a terrorist organization” and inciting violence. Yucel’s lawyer appealed for his release pending trial last week, but an Istanbul court ruled on Wednesday that he could be kept in custody.

Home Office staff told to avoid criticism of Donald Trump
Home Office staff and contractors working for the department have been warned not to post negative comments about Donald Trump on their personal social media. Staff were told last week that some of their Twitter comments were “not compliant” and were warned to be “careful” in anticipation of Trump’s state visit later this year.

Disappearing books: How Russia is shuttering its Ukrainian library
After Russia’s only state-run Ukrainian language library was dragged into a political dispute between the two countries, its 52,000 books are being transferred to Russia’s main foreign language library. But the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, employees, and members of Russia’s large Ukrainian diaspora say it is a closure in all but name.

Rebels with a cause: Africa’s whistleblowers need urgent protection
Despite the rising value of whistleblower disclosures, a vast majority of countries have weak or no specific rights protecting them. In Africa only seven of 54 countries have passed whistleblower laws, compared with 11 of 28 EU countries. In 2016, six journalists were killed and 41 languished in prisons across sub-Saharan Africa.

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