President Trump tweets out his own counter-narrative as Congressional hearings confirm an FBI investigation into covert Russian efforts to influence the election outcome, including through ties to his campaign. At the same time, Hill Republicans train their focus on the leaks that have made those links public. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


The FBI is on the case — and other takeaways from the house intel hearing
At an hours-long public hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he pushed back against President Trump’s allegations that he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama.

Washington’s split-screen reality: Trump’s tweets aim to discredit Comey’s testimony
As Comey’s testimony contradicted several claims made by Trump, the presidential Twitter feed offered a distorted account of what Comey said. The president’s Twitter posted half-a-dozen video clips from the hearing, each with a brief description that aimed to advance Trump’s self-interested version of the Russia controversy.

Trump’s proposed cuts to the humanities strike at the heart of what actually makes America great
In Trump’s proposed budget, the NEH, along with its sister agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, would be eliminated. At $148 million, the NEH budget is 1/21,000th of the $4 trillion US federal budget—a minuscule figure the NEH affectionately likens to “barely more per capita than the cost of a postage stamp.”

Arts groups take action to save funding in DC
In Washington today, some 650 advocacy day delegates are scheduled to fan out to call on all 435 members of the House of Representatives to urge them to oppose the Trump plan to kill the NEA and the NEH, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other, smaller funding arms.

YouTube reverses some restrictions on gay-themed content
Several YouTube users, many of them in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, have been complaining that their videos are categorized as “restricted” for no obvious reasons. YouTube acknowledged Monday that it might have made a mistake, and was working to fix the restriction.


Israeli Ministry Trying to Compile Database of Citizens Who Support BDS
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan wants to set up a database of Israeli citizens who are involved in promoting and supporting BDS against Israel or the settlements. However, the attorney general opposes Minister Gilad Erdan’s bid, arguing his ministry has no legal authority to collect information on Israelis.

Human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor arrested in United Arab Emirates
Amnesty International says it is appalled by the arrest of prominent human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor in the United Arab Emirates, fearing he could be tortured in jail. He was arrested in the middle of the night at his home just a short drive from Dubai International airport.

Activists, Artists Condemn Threats Against Reporter Behind Tamil Nadu Sand Mafia Exposé
Over a thousand artists and activists have signed a petition condemning the threats that Chennai-based journalist Sandhya Ravishankar has been receiving since writing a four-part series exposing the corruption and environmental exploitation plaguing Tamil Nadu’s sand mining industry

CEO Uday Shankar speaks to the rise of conservative censorship as creative voices in India grow louder
Star India CEO says digital media will need to play the role of a progressive challenger to create space for dissenting points of view. From ensuring city names are correct to not discussing issues related to women, Shankar says it is a disturbing trend which could undo a lot of gains that the media industry has made in the last few decades.

A Putin Opponent Is Doused in Green. He Makes It Work.
During Russia’s invasion of Crimea, much was made of the “little green men,” soldiers without insignia who turned out to be Russian regulars. On Monday, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was doused with a green liquid in the Siberian city of Barnaul by an assailant who had pretended to shake his hand.

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