President Trump plans to sign an executive order today easing restrictions on religious institutions’ ability to engage in political activity, though reports indicate he has backed off plans to exempt such organizations from non-discrimination requirements involving serving or hiring LGBT people. A Code Pink protester who burst into a chuckle during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing is convicted of disruption.‎ Tillerson addresses State Department staff, signaling a pullback from efforts to advance American values and principles in engagement with foreign nations. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


Trump expected to sign religious liberty executive order
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on religious liberty as early as Thursday, pushing out new policy that is likely to draw a stiff rebuke from the LGBT community.

A Code Pink Protester Laughs Over a Trump Nominee and Is Convicted
A jury on Wednesday convicted three Code Pink activists on charges related to a protest at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general — including a Virginia woman who said all she did was break out in laughter.

Tillerson: Pushing human rights abroad ‘creates obstacles’ to US interests
In advocating for America’s interests abroad, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said today that American values must be separate from American foreign policy, even as they “guide” it.

James Comey: Classified scoops won’t be treated as ‘criminal conduct’
FBI Director James Comey sent a clear message to newsrooms across the country Wednesday: American journalists who receive classified material from sources are not criminals. Comey was specifically asked during a Senate judiciary committee hearing by Republican Sen. Ben Sasse to explain whether journalists violate the law by soliciting leaks within the intelligence community.

A Look at Government Censorship in the Age of Facebook
Censoring the Internet is easier than ever. In the past, governments tried to rely on technology to stifle online dissent, but now they have another option: They can just use trolls and social media to rob protest movements of their power.


At Least 6 Journalist Arrested in Uganda on Press Freedom Day
Ugandan police arrested at least six journalists as they marched in the capital Kampala to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday, local media reported. The journalists, part of the Ugandan Journalists Association (UJA), staged the march following a disagreement among members of the UJA executive council on where to hold World Press Day celebrations, according to local news site ChimpReports.

Israel Tells Dutch Journalist to leave After Series of Critical Reports
Dutch journalist Derk Walters – NRC correspondent on Israel and Palestine – was told to leave Israel by July. The Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) will not renew his work visa. According to the GPO, this is because NRC does not adhere to the country’s accreditation rules. However, the NRC believes it is because Walters is critical about Israel in his reporting.

British journalist wins four-year legal battle to stay in Kenya
Lucy Hannan was permitted to stay in the county after the High Court ruled it was unprocedural for the government to refuse to renew her work permit. “The respondent’s decision arrived at on October 16, 2013, refusing to renew her work permit, was contrary to the constitution, Fair Administrative Act, as well as Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011,” Justice Isaac Lenaola ruled on Thursday. THE STAR

The most common punishment for killing a journalist in Mexico: Nothing
As the number of Mexican journalists killed for doing their jobs has spiked in recent months, organizations trying to draw attention to the murders have had to use stronger language to describe the epidemic. Amnesty International said it was “open season” on journalists and described a “war” against the media. The British human rights organization Article 19 described a “new peak” in violence.

Sudan’s Silent Conflicts – State Censorship in the War Zones
Sudan remains one of the toughest places in the world to work for both local and international journalists and that is by design. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) ensure no journalist access to the conflict zones to control the narrative.

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