Mueller probe examines Russian influence via fake news channels and social media bots.‎ Tomorrow, July 12, is slated as “Day of Action” to defend net neutrality rules, an initiative backed by major internet and social media platforms and civil society organizations (see PEN America petition here). Civil liberties groups sue Trump commission on alleged election irregularities for operating in secret. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director


DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


Fake news could prove vexing in Mueller probe
Robert Mueller’s far-reaching Russia investigation is expected to delve into one of the biggest political phenomena of the Donald Trump era—fake news. The special counsel’s team is stacked with prosecutors and FBI agents well-equipped to investigate the Moscow-connected Twitter bots and Facebook trolls that churned out campaign-related headlines boosting Trump’s candidacy.

‘First amendment of the internet’: What is net neutrality and why is it at risk?
The internet-wide day of action, scheduled for Wednesday, July 12, will see companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Vimeo, Spotify, Reddit, and PornHub notify their users that net neutrality—a founding principle of the open internet—is under attack. Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyone’s data equally. It means that ISPs don’t get to choose which data is sent more quickly, which sites get blocked or throttled, and who has to pay extra.

ACLU sues Trump over voter fraud commission
The ACLU is challenging President Trump’s voter fraud commission. In a lawsuit filed Monday in the D.C. District Court, the ACLU says the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity violated federal public access requirements by holding its first meeting in private, without public notice. Trump formed the 15-member commission with an executive order in May to investigate his claims of voter fraud in last year’s presidential election.

WHCA president: White House asked organization to publicly criticize reporter
The White House asked the White House Correspondents’ Association to single out a reporter and criticize an article, WHCA President Jeff Mason said Monday evening. Mason’s comments were made at a WHCA town hall where White House reporters pose questions to the WHCA board. Mason said he declined to do so and that “we’ve made clear that’s not our role.”

UW Regents set ‘guidepost’ for campus free speech with no mention of penalties GOP lawmakers want
The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents on Friday unanimously adopted a “guidepost” on free speech protections that does not impose the penalties some GOP lawmakers are demanding for students who disrupt controversial speakers. “It is not prescriptive, nor is it punitive in scope,” said Regent Vice President Drew Petersen. “It is rather a guidepost for our campuses to be alert—to honor opposing views and to promote a civil discourse environment.”


Top Bahrain activist sentenced to two years
A Bahraini court Monday sentenced prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to two years in prison after finding him guilty of spreading “fake news,” a judicial source said. The source, quoted by BNA news agency, said Rajab was convicted “of disseminating false news, statements, and rumors about the internal situation of the kingdom that would undermine its prestige and status.”

TV journalist detained in Somaliland, CPJ calls for release
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called for the immediate release of TV journalist Omar Ali Hassan Serbiya, who has been detained by authorities in Somaliland. Security officers arrested the journalist when he arrived on holiday at Hargeisa on July 8, the administrative capital of the semi-autonomous republic.

Violence at G-20 tests the limits of expression in Germany
Every Western democracy struggles with the contradictory demands of permitting free expression and maintaining public order. In Germany, the experience of Nazism and Communism highlights the clamor for free speech and how best to protect it. The violence that marred the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg last week clearly caught the authorities off guard, despite the deployment of more than 20,000 police officers called in from across Germany and its European neighbors.

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