Trump stuns Europe and democracy advocates at home with a phone call to congratulate Turkish President Tayip’s Recep Erdogan on his narrow, possibly fraud-infused win of a referendum affording him newfound powers at the expense of checks, balances, and accountability. White House spokesman Sean Spicer defends the president’s penchant for secrecy and non-transparency over taxes and visitor logs as justified to protect the privacy of the first family and whoever may choose to meet with them. Russia reprises disinformation techniques in apparent bid to influence the French election outcome.
-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 calls Erdogan to congratulate him on contested referendum
President Trump called to congratulate Turkish President ­Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday after a referendum greatly expanding his powers, despite a more circumspect State Department response to Sunday’s vote, which international election observers declared unfair.

Spicer defends White House policy on visitor logs
White House press secretary Sean Spicer today defended the Trump administration’s decision to not voluntarily release records of White House visitors to the public and described the Obama administration’s online posting of those logs as a “faux” effort.

Filmmaker learns why she endured airport stops for years
Laura Poitras, director of the Snowden documentary film, “Citizenfour,” has been dealing with airport stops for years. Through a suit filed last year, she obtained documents that show the U.S. government investigated her on suspicion she might have been involved in an ambush that led to a U.S. soldier’s death in Iraq in 2004.

The Violent Clashes In Berkeley Weren’t ‘Pro-Trump’ Versus ‘Anti-Trump’
According to reports in mainstream news outlets, Saturday saw pro-Trump demonstrators clash with anti-Trump protesters in a “Tax Day” march in Berkeley, California. But such accounts missed the most crucial aspects of what was at stake in the Berkeley clashes: a confrontation between anti-fascists and white nationalists.

How America Is Losing the Credibility War
As President Trump confronts the twin challenges of North Korea and Syria, he must overcome a credibility gap of his own making. His insistence on remaining the most prominent consumer and purveyor of fake news and conspiracy theories is not only corrosive to our democracy — it’s dangerous to our national security.


It’s France’s Turn to Worry About Election Meddling by Russia
The flagging, scandal-plagued presidential campaign of François Fillon — a former prime minister of France much liked by the Kremlin but not so much, it seems, by French voters — received a surprise lift late last month and was now leading the pack ahead of voting this Sunday.

China’s internet censors allow one-on-one complaining, but won’t let you gripe in group chat
A new report by Citizen Lab shows China is stricter with WeChat censorship when it comes to group discussions and that more keyword combinations were blocked in chats containing multiple users. Researchers suspect this is in an attempt to block organized dissent.

Jail for a joke: student’s case puts free speech under spotlight in Spain
Forty-four years on, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco’s assassination is once again resonating through Spanish society after Cassandra Vera, a 21-year-old student from the south-eastern region of Murcia, was sentenced to a year in prison for joking about it in a series of tweets.

Thailand’s military junta breaks promises of return to democracy
The Thai government’s intolerance of political criticism and dissenting opinions points to the country sliding into the embrace of dictatorial rule, contrary to its promised transition to democracy. Authorities have repeatedly harassed and prosecuted people for their speech, writings and Internet postings critical of the government.

Study: Insulting foreign leaders a crime in 18 OSCE states
A new study released last month by the Office of the OSCE Special Representative on Freedom of the Media shows that 18 OSCE states maintain criminal defamation laws protecting foreign heads of states, leading to severe consequences for activists, journalists, and writers.

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