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Senior White House aides increasingly airing their private disagreements with the president publicly, exposing the divisions over the handling of the violence in Charlottesville. One of the oldest and largest neo-Nazi hate sites pulled off the web by its hosting provider. False claims of criminal inquiries regarding Trump’s inactive businesses spread on social media, fueled by online writers with significant followings and a hoaxer frustrated by the “dissemination of fake news.” Ban on transgender military service challenged in court. – Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator

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


Public rifts between Trump and some senior officials widen in the wake of Charlottesville
Over the weekend, Tillerson suggested that Trump “speaks for himself” rather than for the country’s values in his reaction to Charlottesville. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also counseled U.S. troops to “hold the line until our country gets back to respecting each other” and is able to “get the power of inspiration back.”

Stormfront, the internet’s oldest major racist website, has domain suspended
Stormfront, the oldest neo-Nazi and white nationalist website, has become the second far-right website to be blocked by its web domain registrar, Network Solutions. The site’s owner, former KKK leader Don Black, is officially opposed to violence, but several of his members have been linked to various murders.

Lurid Trump allegations made by Louise Mensch and co-writer came from hoaxer
Claude Taylor tweeted fake details of criminal inquiries into Trump invented by a source whose claim to work for the New York attorney general was not checked. The allegations were endorsed as authentic and retweeted by co-writer Louise Mensch.

2 Lawsuits Challenge Trump’s Ban On Transgender Military Service
Human rights groups filed two federal lawsuits alleging that a ban against transgender people serving in the military is unconstitutional. Plaintiffs include both transgender people who are currently serving in the military and transgender people who wish to serve but are no longer able to because of the ban.

Free speech bill in Ohio aimed at college campuses
Several states have either adopted laws or are considering bills to ban university policies that relegate protesters to “free speech zones.” Some states have also required universities to sanction those who interfere with the free speech of others. Ohio may be the next state to follow suit.


Dozens Of Cultural Figures Sign Petition For Russian Director
More than 30 cultural figures from different countries have signed a petition calling on Russian authorities to drop the criminal investigation into prominent theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov, who has been charged with fraud and placed under house arrest.

PEN Hong Kong ‘deeply troubled’ by RTHK’s cancellation of BBC World Service relay
PEN Hong Kong has expressed its support for a petition urging public broadcaster RTHK not to cancel its 24-hour BBC World Service relay. Earlier this month, it was announced that, from September 4, the BBC’s global news service will be replaced with the state-run Mandarin-language China National Radio Hong Kong Edition.

African governments are requesting more user data from Facebook, Google, and Twitter than ever before
Social media user information requests from African governments have accelerated between 2013 and 2016, from countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, and Egypt. Nigeria’s government has struggled to deal with an increasingly vocal and critical electorate whose dissatisfaction has been amplified online.

The silencing of a Yemeni social media star
Hisham Al-Omeisy is a prolific tweeter known for his updates about the social and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The day before he was detained he spoke of “armed goons” turning up outside his door at his home in Sanaa. He was seen being taken away in a convoy of three cars.

News chief says freedom now in peril
The Cambodia Daily chief editor claimed the government’s demand it pay about $6.3 million in back taxes for the past 10 years is “an assault on press freedom thinly disguised as a tax dispute” and called for an investigation into state officials leaking confidential information to pro-government news sites.

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