Fans of free expression, from Meryl Streep to the conveners of the women’s marches to a Ukrainian filmmaker imprisoned in Russia (his letter from Siberia read by Alan Cumming), are part of PEN America’s gala celebrating our rights and taking heed of the threats to them. The correspondents’ committee that approves media credentials to cover Congress—deciding whether applicants are news organizations or political advocacy groups—declines them to Breitbart News. How we honor our past and the places where we do this is expected to come under scrutiny with a Trump administration order to review national monuments.
-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


Sondheim an honoree, Trump a target at annual PEN gala
Past ceremonies have focused on threats to free expression abroad, but Tuesday’s gala at the American Museum of Natural History was a long look homeward. Virtually every speech and segment referred to President Donald Trump and potential dangers in the U.S.

Committee rejects Breitbart application for congressional press credentials
A committee of journalists who oversee news media access to Congress decided Tuesday to table indefinitely a Breitbart request for press accreditation. Breitbart had formally applied several months ago for passes that enable reporters to freely move about the heavily guarded Capitol. The rejection wasn’t a judgment on Breitbart’s news coverage but a reflection on its technical qualifications, members of the committee said.

Trump to order broad review of national monuments
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters that Trump’s order would require him to conduct the review of around 30 national monuments created over the past two decades, and recommend which designations should be lifted or altered.

Journalist Sues Troll Over Twitter Assault
When journalist Kurt Eichenwald checked his Twitter account, he saw a flashing tweet that said “You Deserve a Seizure for Your Posts,” and fell to the ground in a fit of epilepsy. Eichenwald responded by filing a civil lawsuit against John Rivello, a former Marine who allegedly sent the tweet, and claiming HE is liable for assault and battery and other charges.

Let Ann Coulter speak
Good intentions and legitimate concerns don’t absolve the university of its fundamental responsibility to free expression and unfettered debate. Berkeley made serious mistakes in its handling of the Coulter controversy and now must work doubly hard to address the challenge of ensuring that controversial speakers invited to campus have meaningful access to student audiences.


Oleg Sentsov sends Moving Response to PEN America Freedom to Write Award
PEN America’s honoring of Ukrainian filmmaker and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov at its 2017 PEN Literary Gala would have been a very special event under any circumstances. It was made particularly poignant by the letter from Oleg that was heard for the first time, together with a powerful address from his cousin Natalya Kaplan who accepted the award on his behalf.

Hungary Slapped With EU Probe Over Law That Could Shut Soros-Backed University
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban is under fire over his government’s controversial education reforms, which could see a George Soros-backed university close its doors.

Threats over gay crackdown coverage force Russian journalist into hiding
Elena Milashina, a journalist at the Russian-language Novaya Gazeta newspaper, said she abandoned her apartment in Moscow and plans to leave Russia altogether after Muslim clerics in Chechnya delivered a fiery sermon calling for “retribution” against her and other journalists.

Confessions of a (Former) State TV Reporter
Standing in the middle of the newsroom, Kiselyov, head of RIA Novosti, delivered his vision of the future: “You know, there is freedom of speech in our country. But the period of impartial journalism is over. Objectivity is a myth that we have been offered; it has been imposed on us. I myself used to abide by these principles, but I went through an internal evolution,” he said.

Cameroon: Journalist’s Attorneys File Appeal on Terrorism Charges
In Cameroon, lawyers for the Radio France International reporter sentenced to a decade behind bars late Monday already have filed an appeal to overturn his conviction on terrorism-related charges.

DARE is a project of PEN America’s #LouderTogether campaign, bringing you a daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. Send your feedback and story suggestions to