‎GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte assults Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs outside campaign event in Bozeman and is charged with misdemeanor; voters go to the polls today (see PEN America’s statement on the incident here). Sixty-seven Middlebury students are disciplined in connection with disruptions and violence related to visit of controversial scholar Charles Murray to campus. Chinese government weighs in with disapproval on University of Maryland student who extolled virtues of free expression and fresh air in a graduation speech. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

PEN America’s take on today’s most pressing threats to free expression


Greg Gianforte, Montana G.O.P. Candidate, Is Charged in Attack on Reporter
The Republican candidate in a hotly contested special House election in Montana was charged with assaulting a journalist on Wednesday at what was to be a final rally in Bozeman on the eve of the vote. The attack brought police officers to the event and sent the reporter to the hospital for X-rays.

Middlebury College Students Disciplined in Charles Murray Protest
Middlebury College announced its punishments this week for the students involved in the protests against libertarian scholar Charles Murray, with most receiving probation and none suspended. The disciplinary actions followed investigations into demonstrations at the school’s student center in March against Dr. Murray.

Judge Agrees Broadcasters Have First Amendment Right to Refuse Advertisements
SiriusXM has just scored a victory that also provides a lesson in this fraught political time where refusing to run an advertisement engenders cries of censorship. According to a California federal judge, not running an ad is an exercise in free speech.

The FCC Will Not Take Action Against Stephen Colbert
The FCC has officially declined to take action against Colbert following complaints from across the political spectrum about a joke widely seen as homophobic, providing a statement in response to an inquiry. “Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints. The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules.”


After Maryland student’s speech, mockery and anger in China
Delivering her commencement address at the University of Maryland, Yang Shuping said “when I took my first breath of American air, I put my mask away. The air was so sweet and fresh, and oddly luxurious. Democracy and freedom are the fresh air worth fighting for.” China’s foreign ministry weighed in, saying it was aware the issue was being widely discussed online, and that any Chinese citizen should “make remarks responsibly”.

How other countries are trying to censor the Internet
Many of those who built the Internet are libertarian types — First Amendment fans who regard uncensored access to information as an unquestionably good thing, a natural right. The trouble is, most of the world doesn’t think that way. Their pushback gets more aggressive by the month, and that will test how far major US companies such as Google and Facebook would bend their principles to protect their profits.

Bill Banning Anonymous Messenger Accounts Submitted to Russian Parliament
A new bill banning anonymous users from using online messenger apps has been submitted to the Russian parliament. The plans would require users of apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram to identify themselves with their cell phone number. The companies behind the apps would also be forced to pass on information to government bodies and agencies.

I’m a reporter in Mexico. My life is in danger. The United States wouldn’t give me asylum.
On Feb. 5, I walked into the United States from Mexico and turned myself over to immigration authorities for the purpose of seeking political asylum. Customs and Border Protection agents detained me and held me in federal custody for more than 100 days, even though I had submitted all the necessary legal documents and passed a “credible fear interview” in March showing that I faced real danger at home.

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