On successive days, The Washington Post and New York Times break their respective records for the number of online readers viewing one story simultaneously as a new national division becomes more stark: those who believe the news media are guardians of democracy now more than ever and those who want reporters and their sources locked up. The now-fired FBI director’s presidential meeting notes have Trump in the latter camp with his suggestion about putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information. A report that the Justice Department is readying to aggressively prosecute leakers underlines PEN America’s long-standing concerns about gaps in national security whistleblower protection. And, as President Trump is greeting Turkish President Erdogan, the foremost jailer of journalists, protestors say they were beaten bloody by Turkish security outside the ambassador’s Washington, DC, residence. Meanwhile, PEN America’s World Voices Festival of International Literature announces a new director in Chip Rolley, formerly of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. -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


‘Post’ scoop on Trump’s Russia leak sets new reader record
For The Washington Post, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. According to Glenn Kessler, the paper’s “fact checker,” their scoop Monday that President Trump revealed classified intelligence to Russian diplomats broke the Post’s record for readers per second clicking on the article. Kessler said the newsroom broke into applause at the news of the new record.

Trump Allegedly Urged Comey To Consider Jailing Journalists
Frustrated by leaks to the news media, President Donald Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to “consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information,” according to the New York Times. The closed-door meeting was revealed in the Times’ bombshell report Tuesday that Trump asked Comey to end the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn.

Justice Department: We Are Ready to Find and Prosecute Leakers
Under intense pressure from the White House, the Justice Department is prepared to aggressively prosecute government officials who leak classified information. Justice Department officials told The Daily Beast that targeting leakers will be a priority during Jeff Sessions’ time as attorney general—a posture that will hearten national security hawks, while concerning advocates of whistleblower protections.

Violence Breaks Out During Protest At Turkish Embassy In Washington, D.C.
On the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited President Trump at the White House, protesters were gathered at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. During Tuesday’s demonstrations, an altercation broke out and nine people were injured, two seriously, and two arrests were made.

A federal judge is skeptical of the US charging a journalist $174,000 for government data
Unlike the time limits in the FOIA, the law’s stipulations on fees are much more strictly followed. As a journalist, the law entitles me to have fees waived under FOIA so that I am responsible only for the direct cost of duplication—in this case, the cost of a CD or hard drive. But the US Commerce Department is of the opinion that the data I seek is exempt from FOIA because it is authorized to charge for it, and thus it is allowed to force me to pay full price.


Facebook Gets Slap on the Wrist From 2 European Privacy Regulators
As part of their separate announcements on Tuesday, the Dutch and French officials said that Facebook had not provided people in their countries with sufficient control over how their details are used. They said that the social network had collected digital information on Facebook users as well as nonusers on third-party websites without their knowledge.

Mexicans stage ‘A Day Without Journalism’ to protest deadly attacks on the news media
Several prominent Mexican news outlets went dark Tuesday to protest the murder of journalists across the country, including Monday’s brazen midday killing of veteran crime reporter Javier Valdez.

Cambodian election commission ‘code of censorship’ slammed
Media experts and observers yesterday called the National Election Committee’s media code of conduct a “code of censorship” that violates Cambodia’s Constitution, warning it should not be used “to justify any clampdown” on media covering the upcoming June 4 commune elections.

From Hiding, Journalist Who Exposed Chechnya’s Gay Purge Sees ‘Culture of Impunity’ Ending
After breaking the story about the systemic torture and extrajudicial killings of gay men by Chechen security officials in an unofficial prison outside Grozny, Elena Milashina of the Russian-language Novaya Gazeta newspaper has been forced into hiding. Saying she was prepared to die in the line of journalistic duty, Milashina told VOA why Chechnya’s treatment of gays marked the end of a Kremlin-backed “culture of impunity” that has flourished in the deeply conservative, predominantly Muslim North Caucasus republic.

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