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More than 23,000 doctors and medical professionals sign an open letter to the National Rifle Association after the NRA tells their colleagues who express opinion about gun violence to ‘stay in their lane.’ Congressional Democrats are set to investigate whether President Trump used ‘the instruments of state power to punish the press.’ Mary Baldwin University puts and end to an art exhibit after accusations of racism by members of the student body. Trump faces fire for disparaging comments made to and about female reporters of color, including April Ryan, Abby Phillip, and Yamiche Alcindor. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


‘Being Silenced Is Not Acceptable’: Doctors Express Outrage after NRA Tells Them ‘to Stay in Their Lane’
After the National Rifle Association tweeted last week telling doctors who dared enter the gun debate “to stay in their lane,” countless medical professionals have taken to Twitter to fire back—creating a viral response that has ricocheted around the internet under the hashtags #thisisourlane and #thisismylane. “Being silenced is not acceptable,” trauma surgeon Joseph Sakran said.

Democrats Set to Investigate If Trump Used ‘State Power’ to Target the Press
California representative Adam Schiff, the Democrat likely to lead the House intelligence committee next year, said Congress would investigate whether president Trump used “the instruments of state power to punish the press” in at least two alleged instances.

THE GUARDIAN *PEN America’s lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent exactly this: threats and use of instruments of government to retaliate against the press. Find out more here.

Is Artistic Freedom a Lost Cause?
Mary Baldwin University last week shut down an art exhibit after some students said that the art was racist. The artists involved say their exhibit, “RELEVANT / SCRAP,” about the monuments to Confederate heroes, has been misunderstood: “Our intention with this work is to use art making processes to create an aesthetic experience of the problematic challenge of reimagining the spaces where the monuments to the Confederacy currently reside in Richmond.”

Trump Draws Rebukes for Scolding Female Reporters of Color
While the president insults many journalists, many critics say his barbs targeting women and people of color feel especially sharp, and hit at the reporter’s basic intelligence and competence as a person. It’s a tone that black reporters and scholars of African-American history say particularly stings, given that African-American journalists were not allowed into the White House until 1947.


‘Purify’ or Perish: The Vulnerable Lives of China’s Uyghur Scholars *PEN Case List: Find Out More
The crackdown on Mutellip Imin, Ilham Tohti, and the “Uighurbiz” students form part of an extended Chinese government strategy to root out dissenting views among Uyghur scholars, artists, and intellectuals; however, in 2018, support for ideas opposing state narratives is irrelevant. Simply being a Uyghur is the crime.

The Khashoggi Investigation Must Be Free from Trump and Erdoğan *PEN Case List: Find Out More
“The U.S.’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia, with its endless trade in arms and oil, calls into question its ability to conduct a truly independent investigation. The U.N., by contrast, has the ability and authority to appoint a credible investigative team. Such a team has already been called for by international rights advocates.”

Ma Jian, Exiled Chinese Novelist, Hails Appearance as Victory for Rights
Ma Jian, an exiled Chinese novelist, spoke at a literary festival in Hong Kong on Saturday, two days after his appearance had been briefly canceled in a move that was widely seen as the latest erosion of freedoms in the semi-autonomous city.

Philippines Says It Will Charge Veteran Journalist Critical of Duterte
The Philippine government said that it would charge veteran journalist Maria Ressa and her online news start-up, Rappler, with tax evasion, a move the publication described as an attack against media by the government of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has echoed Trump in accusing reporters of deceit and “fake news.”

Nationalism a Driving Force behind Fake News in India, Research Shows
A rising tide of nationalism in India is driving ordinary citizens to spread fake news, according to BBC research. The research found that facts were less important to some than the emotional desire to bolster national identity. Social media analysis suggested that right-wing networks are much more organized than on the left, pushing nationalistic fake stories further.