Gunman opens fire on members of Congress on a baseball field, sparking both bi-partisan and partisan responses and raising specter of elected officials under threat retreating from public view. A suggestion of new rules limiting hallway interviews of U.S. Senators is rolled back amid alarm over another indication of aggressive limits on journalists, but more restrictions on press access are still expected at the Capitol. Meanwhile, secrecy surrounds a small group of Republican senators drafting health care plan. Tracy K. Smith is named U.S. Poet Laureate. And T-shirts worn in high school yearbook photos become a free expression front.


DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


Steve Scalise Among 5 Shot at Baseball Field; Suspect Is Dead
The shooting stunned the capital as it began the workday. Out of caution, officials quickly put in place a “robust police presence throughout the Capitol complex,” and the Secret Service added security around the White House. As the magnitude of the incident became apparent, House leaders canceled the day’s votes, and Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both canceled speeches.

Senate Rules Committee reassures reporters no rules changes at the Capitol
The Committee scrambled to reassure reporters that they would still be allowed to wander the halls of the Capitol and Senate buildings to conduct interviews with lawmakers. The restrictions were first relayed Tuesday morning to multiple TV reporters, who were told they couldn’t wait outside hearing rooms or other locations in the Capitol and Senate buildings to try and interview lawmakers anymore. However, there was confusion about where that new edict came from.

The GOP’s sneak attack on health care
There have been no hearings, no released drafts, no informational meetings. What’s more, this week, the Senate bill-writers will finish their draft and send it to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis without releasing the legislation to the public. If they don’t release the bill until after the CBO’s report, and hold to their plan to take a vote on the legislation before their July Fourth recess, the public will have almost no time to absorb it, let alone convey their sentiments to their lawmakers.

Tracy K. Smith Is the New Poet Laureate
Ms. Smith has published three volumes of poetry and collected prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. With the appointment, Ms. Smith will take on a role held by some of the country’s most revered poets, among them Rita Dove, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, W. S. Merwin, Charles Simic and most recently, Juan Felipe Herrera. Ms. Smith said she planned to use the position to be a literary evangelist of sorts, by visiting small towns and rural areas to hold poetry events.

School probing why pro-Trump yearbook photos were altered
The Wall Township district also is probing why a Trump quote submitted by the freshman class president wasn’t included under her photo while a quote by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appeared under the senior class president’s photo. Grant Berardo said he was shocked when he saw the yearbook photo of him in the T-shirt, minus the Trump reference. Berardo’s father wants the school district to republish the yearbooks at the district’s expense with the unaltered photos.

‘I have no idea’: The White House’s spokesmen aren’t speaking much these days
More and more, the White House press office is saying less and less. The briefings are getting briefer. Spicer’s briefing on Monday may have set a record for brevity. In an interview Saturday, Spicer said the rapid pace of issues and events at the White House warrants a cautious approach. He also said reporters shared some of the responsibility for the White House’s wariness. But the White House’s reluctance to comment can sometimes seem like deflection or evasion amid the news of the day.

Brands, Afraid to Offend, Weigh in on Theater and News Content
In this divided postelection world, brands are weighing in on theater and news interviews. Delta Air Lines and Bank of America drew headlines this week for pulling their support from New York’s Public Theater in response to criticism about its production of “Julius Caesar,”. On Monday, JPMorgan Chase temporarily halted its ads on NBC News because of Megyn Kelly’s coming interview with Alex Jones. In both cases, the advertisers’ decisions were cheered by some and deplored as censorship by others.


Longest prison sentence ever for lese majeste
A man was jailed for 35 years on Friday for lese majeste and defamation – the longest prison sentence to date for such a case. The 34-year-old was arrested in Chiang Mai province in December 2015 after allegedly setting up a Facebook account using a different name and profile picture. He was sentenced for posting 10 video clips, pictures and texts referring to the monarchy. He was charged with 10 violations of the lese majeste law, 11 defamation offences, and breaching the Computer Crime Act by posting false information.

Theresa May wants tech companies to censor terrorists, but will they play ball?
The British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce international sanctions for those that fail to take sufficient action against terrorist propaganda, in a joint statement with French President Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders, meeting on Tuesday, will discuss creating a legal requirement for technology companies to aid in the fight against terrorism online and reportedly face fines for failing to comply. The big question for technology firms will be the extent to which any legal liability creates a requirement for them to pro-actively seek out and remove illegal content.

In Russia, state TV and the Internet tell a tale of two protests
Some of the biggest anti-Kremlin protests in years swept across Russia on Monday with over 1,000 people detained by the police ahead of a presidential election next year. Vremya, state TV’s flagship evening news show, relegated news of the protests to item nine of 10, and, in a report lasting around 30 seconds, said less than 2,000 people had shown up in Moscow. A live feed organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was detained in Moscow before he could attend what the authorities said was an illegal protest, showed demonstrations in scores of cities from Vladivostok to St Petersburg and thousands of people converging on central Moscow.

In Anti-Soros Feud, Hungary Adopts Rules on Foreign-Financed Groups
Defying warnings from the European Union and pleas by advocates for civil and political rights, Hungary’s right-wing government passed legislation on Tuesday to require nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign financing to identify themselves as such and to disclose their donors. Critics have compared the move — debated for weeks in Parliament — to a 2012 law in Russia that required nonprofit groups that received foreign financing to identify themselves as “foreign agents.”

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