Front pages and home pages headlined TRUMP FIRES COMEY AMID RUSSIA INQUIRY are already predicted as destined for media history books. A journalist is arrested in the West Virginia state capitol building for being disruptive while trying to question Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Kellyanne Conway. The pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcast Group is reported near a $4 billion deal to purchase Tribune Media, giving it control of more than a third of the country’s local TV outlets just when Trump’s pick to head the FCC has rolled back the cap on the number of TV stations one corporation can control.
-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


F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired by Trump
President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

West Virginia journalist arrested after asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question
Dan Heyman, a journalist with Public News Service, repeatedly asked the secretary whether domestic violence would be considered a preexisting condition under the Republican bill to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, he said. Then, an officer in the capitol pulled him aside, handcuffed him and arrested him. Heyman was jailed on the charge of willful disruption of state government processes and was released later on $5,000 bail.

Sinclair Unveils Tribune Deal, Raising Worries It Will Be Too Powerful
Already the largest owner of local television stations in the United States, Sinclair said Monday that it had agreed to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. With the deal, Sinclair would reach more than 70 percent of American households, with stations in many major markets. That has stoked concern about the pitfalls of consolidation, with some pointing out that Sinclair has shown a willingness to use its 173 stations to advance a conservative-leaning agenda.

Republicans scold Tom Price for “potentially illegal” HHS memo
Two top congressional Republicans are warning Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price that a memo to HHS employees restricting their communications with Congress is “potentially illegal and unconstitutional” and could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers.

Is WikiLeaks intelligence porn, or legitimate news?
Many, especially on the left, have questioned WikiLeaks’s motives and actions since the election. But often the most unpopular defendants present the most important cases under the First Amendment. Given that, Comey’s rhetoric about WikiLeaks should concern us all. Comey spoke at length about the “difference,” as he sees it, between WikiLeaks and other news outlets.


Austria court orders Facebook to delete hate speech posts
Austria’s Green Party brought the case to court after its leader, Eva Glawischnig, became a target of hateful comments through a fake account. The court said that Facebook could delete such comments automatically and that the company would need to do more than block messages only in Austria.

Russia journalist Andrushchenko dies after suspected attack
A Russian journalist who was critical of President Vladimir Putin has died from his injuries after a suspected attack last month left him in a coma, according to the editor of his paper and Russian state media.

Journalists and critics being targeted in Maldives
A group of United Nations human rights experts have “strongly” condemned the murder of a prominent journalist and human rights defender in Maldives and called on the authorities to conduct a public inquiry into the killing and to bring those responsible to justice.

Solemn, respectful and cherished: China to tighten rules on how its anthem is sung
China is fine-tuning legislation on the proper way and place to sing its national anthem, tightening rules that already bar people from belting it out at parties, weddings, and funerals. A draft bill is being prepared out of concern that the patriotic ballad is “not universally respected and cherished.”

Blasphemy Laws Still Reign in Many Muslim Countries
A recent report released by the Library of Congress points out that blasphemy laws are more prevalent in Muslim-majority countries, “but many other countries, including Western jurisdictions, retain such laws on their books and some have even enforced them in recent years.”

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