Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort demands the New York Times retract an article alleging he is in debt to pro-Russia interests; the Times refuses. As Russia probe widens, Trump’s legal and communications staff face yet more shake-ups. Proposed HBO series, “Confederate,” raises questions over the relationship between the historical scar of slavery and artistic license. Hong Kong’s annual book fair kicks off, but fewer politically sensitive titles are on display after growing pressure from Beijing. UN human rights experts call on Mexico to launch an investigation into surveillance of journalists and human rights activists. Iraqi parliament postpones voting on a freedom of expression law. –James Tager, Free Expression Programs Manager

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

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


New York Times rejects Manafort’s retraction request
Manafort demanded The New York Times retract an article published Wednesday, which reported he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016.

Spicer resigns, Scaramucci to be White House communications director
The chaos engulfing President Trump and his orbit intensified Friday, as Trump moved to shake up his legal and White House communications teams in response to the special counsel probe into his campaign’s possible collusion with the Russian government.

‘Confederate’ poses test over race for ‘Game of Thrones’ creators and HBO
It was supposed to be HBO’s next big thing: a high-concept drama set in an alternate America where the Southern states seceded from the Union. Instead, the new series has provoked an outcry from potential viewers over how HBO and the creators will handle this volatile mixture of race, politics and history.

Interior Dept. ordered Glacier park chief, other climate expert pulled from Zuckerberg tour
The high-level scrutiny comes as the Trump administration de-emphasizes climate issues, not just by withdrawing from the Paris agreement but by removing references to global warming from many federal websites and turning back regulations on U.S. carbon emissions.


‘Publishers are self censoring and afraid’: China’s banned books fade from Hong Kong
The annual Hong Kong book fair has always been a source of politically sensitive titles, but this year fewer were on display as the city faces pressure from Beijing. Several publishing houses were still displaying controversial books as part of a fair that attracts more than a million visitors over six days.

Mexican hacking case deserves independent inquiry, U.N. envoys say
The hacking effort, using advanced spyware whose sale is restricted to governments, has generated a furor in Mexico. The attorney general’s office, one of the agencies that acquired the spyware has opened an investigation.

Iraqi parliament postpones voting on freedom of expression law
Abdel Al Malik Husseini, spokesman for the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said, “The postponement came at the request of the legal, human rights, security and defence, culture and information, endowments and religious affairs committees.”

Acclaimed Iranian artist refused visa to attend Edinburgh book festival
Ehsan Abdollahi, described by the festival’s director as a “highly respected, award-winning Iranian illustrator of kids’ books,” was due to arrive in the UK early August, but he has received a visa refusal letter.

U.N. rights chief seeks meeting with China over Liu Xiaobo’s widow
United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Thursday he plans to seek a meeting with Chinese officials to urge freedom of movement for the widow of Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xia has been under effective house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

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