President Trump marks the Independence Day holiday with a tweeted video of him pummeling a person whose head is a CNN logo, perpetuating his campaign to cast journalists as the enemy and denigrate the independent information sources they represent. (See PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel’s statement here.) The writer who tracked the source video for Trump’s tweet to an internet troll (who also produced racist and anti-Semitic posts, and subsequently issued an apparent apology) receives threatening messages including a warning of a “journocaust.” But journalists—including at local media outlets—persevere to show what the press does to hold authorities accountable on citizens’ behalf: one produces an iconic aerial photograph of the Republican New Jersey governor and his family enjoying a public beach that is otherwise empty after a state budget impasse closed it to taxpayers, and many others assess how the Republican health care bill will limit coverage in headlines that greet lawmakers returning to their states for the holiday. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer


DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


Trump Tweets a Video of Him Wrestling ‘CNN’ to the Ground
Cartoonish in quality, the video is an unorthodox way for a sitting president to express himself. But Mr. Trump has ratcheted up his attacks on the news media in recent days—assailing CNN and crudely insulting the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”—while defending his use of social media as “modern day presidential.” Some journalists denounced its portrayal of violence as dangerous and have raised alarms about a recent spate of arrests and assaults on working journalists.

Journalist Who Exposed The Racist Creator Of Trump’s CNN Tweet Gets Death Threats
Having written about the rampant homophobia, misogyny and racism at Trump rallies along the campaign trail, Jared Yates Sexton is no stranger to online harassment. But after he exposed the type of person Trump had elevated, Sexton said neo-Nazis and nihilists “came out of the woodwork.” Sexton warned about the possibility of Trump getting someone killed and said the president is “giving power and voice to antisemitic people and emboldening them and their dangerous conspiracies.”

Chris Christie Hits a Closed State Beach, and Kicks Up a Fury
Governor Chris Christie provoked widespread ridicule as pictures emerged of him and his family sunning themselves on an empty beach that had been closed during the holiday weekend because of a state government shutdown. The pictures were taken by The Star-Ledger of New Jersey. Mr. Christie gave a ho-hum response when questioned about going to the beachside retreat at such a politically sensitive time, as a budget standoff forced the shutdown of the state government.

Senate Republicans Lay Low on the Fourth, or Face Single-Minded Pressure
It is a tough summer for Senate Republicans, who are trying to combine a long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act with a replacement that has, in legislation drafted so far, been as popular as sunburn. Protesters have held sit-ins at Senate offices, phone lines have been jammed and editorial writers have blasted their states’ congressional delegations. Republican senators have had to decide whether public appearances would be fruitful or the crowds hostile.

NPR Tweeted The Declaration Of Independence And Some Trump Supporters Were Offended
In celebration of the 4th of July, National Public Radio tweeted out the Declaration of Independence in a series of more than 100 tweets on Tuesday. People responded with praise for the historic document, and thanked NPR for sharing it. However, not everyone was pleased. Several Trump supporters were outraged at what they viewed as a political act by NPR.

Why the Media’s Defense Against Trump Has Proven So Ineffective
Trump’s attack on Brzezinski, including bizarre (and seemingly invented) claims about a botched facelift, is fully in keeping with the behavior of a man who boasted about committing sexual assault. His decision to post a video in which he attacks a man with the CNN logo superimposed over his face, can only be read as encouraging violence against the media. In order to defend itself, the media will have to make the case that Trump’s attacks on the press are bad for the public.


Chinese Hospital Invites Cancer Experts to Help Treat Nobel Laureate *PEN Case List
A Chinese hospital treating the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has invited cancer experts from the United States, Germany, and other nations to join his team of doctors. News of his health problems renewed calls for his unconditional release, and the Chinese authorities have faced questions of whether the cancer could have been diagnosed earlier, or whether poor treatment contributed to his declining health. Dozens of prominent writers and Nobel laureates have signed petitions calling for his release.

The Military’s Offensive Against the Media
On Monday, the military arrested The Irrawaddy’s senior reporter Lawi Weng and two Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reporters, Aye Nai and Pyae Bone Naing, also known as Pyae Phone Aung. Now the military has charged them as having violated Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act as they ventured into territory controlled by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, as part of a reporting trip. The most recent media arrests by the military are damaging press freedom, a principle that is considered a pillar of the democracy that we are trying to create.

Can Mexico Save Its Journalists?
Seven journalists have been killed this year, most shot by gunmen in broad daylight. Yet virtually all cases of attacks on the press end up unsolved and, in many, corrupt officials are suspected of partnering with criminals. “The federal prosecutor doesn’t have resources or teams to investigate. Our system of protection of journalists doesn’t work… The government’s policies to protect us are a failure.” The result is that journalism itself has become a victim.

Al-Jazeera, Insurgent TV Station That Divides the Arab World, Faces Closure
Al-Jazeera—once heralded as the beacon of free Arab media that broke the hegemony of the western networks and reversed the flow of information from east to west for the first time since the middle ages—faces closing its doors for good. Whatever happens, it is a credit to al-Jazeera that, 21 years after its launch, it is still so disruptive and challenging to those in power. Such iconoclasm demolished social, political and religious taboos and set a new standard of reporting in the region. It introduced concepts like democracy and human rights and drastically pushed back the boundaries of free speech.

Watchdog Likens May’s Internet Fines Threat to Chinese Censorship
Max Hill QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said internet companies should be “brought firmly onside” rather than threatened with fines. In a speech delivered at the Terrorism and Social Media conference in Swansea, he said: “I struggle to see how it would help if our parliament were to criminalise tech company bosses who ‘don’t do enough’. How do we measure ‘enough’? What is the appropriate sanction?”

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