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Facebook removes and then reinstates ads placed by presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign calling for the breakup of the social network and other tech giants. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claims she was ‘not aware’ of a conversation in which President Trump ordered former economic adviser Gary Cohn to pressure the Justice Department to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger. PEN America launches ‘Truth on the Ballot,’ offering a stark warning about the normalization of fraudulent news and disinformation as campaign tactics following the 2018 midterms and ahead of the 2020 elections. (Read the report here.) -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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

U.S.

Facebook Backtracks after Removing Warren Ads Calling for Facebook Breakup
The ads, which had identical images and text, touted Warren’s recently announced plan to unwind “anti-competitive” tech mergers, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.
POLITICO

White House Press Secretary ‘Not Aware’ of Trump Order to Block AT&T-Time Warner Merger
A New Yorker story has triggered a new round of questioning from Capitol Hill Democrats on potential White House interference and whether it was politically motivated because of Trump’s disdain for CNN, a unit of Time Warner.
VARIETY

PEN America’s New Report, ‘Truth on the Ballot,’ out Today
The 50-page report addresses steps taken to combat the spread of fraudulent news following the 2016 election, assesses what happened in 2018 and offers recommendations ahead of the next presidential election.
POLITICO

Trump Wants to Kill Federal Funding for PBS and NPR (Again); It Won’t Happen, but It’s Still Damaging
“Public media has always been seen as a partisan issue, in spite of surveys and polls that point to high levels of trust and low ratings for perceived bias. But in today’s era of extreme political polarization, even if Trump’s budgets don’t impact policy, they contribute to shifts in public opinion that someday could.”
NIEMAN LAB

 
Global

The Case of Gui Minhai: The Rushdie Affair Revisited—with Less Bloodshed and Less International Interest *PEN Case List: Learn more here
Thirty years on from the Rushdie Affair, the ongoing detention of Gui Minhai in China is yet another reminder of the threat that dictators pose to free expression. … His real crime? Publishing books critical of the CCP and its top brass, including Xi Jinping, at the Causeway Bay Books store in Hong Kong.
HONG KONG FREE PRESS

Philippine News Site Critical of Duterte Loses Court Appeal
A Philippine appeals court has upheld a decision that Rappler, an online news site critical of President Duterte, violated a constitutional ban on foreign ownership of news media. Last month, Rappler’s chief executive officer and executive editor, Maria Ressa, was arrested but freed on bail over an online libel case.
ABC NEWS

Bolsonaro under Fire for Smearing Reporter Who Covered Scandal Involving His Son
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has provoked a storm of protest after sharing fake news to attack a journalist who has covered a scandal involving a former aide of his son Flávio, a senator who is also under investigation for money laundering.
THE GUARDIAN

Israel Journalist Facing Trial for Calling Soldiers Who Beat Palestinians ‘Animals’
Oshrat Kotler, a journalist with Israel’s Channel 13 who called Israeli army soldiers “animals” for beating a Palestinian father and son in custody, is to face trial on charges including incitement and incrimination of suspects.
MIDDLE EAST MONITOR

Czech Dissident Writers Can Teach Us How to Protect Language from Lies
“If Czechoslovakia’s dissident writers often offered grim predictions about the ease with which language could be appropriated and corroded by those in power, their work also embodied a mode of resistance to that very phenomenon.”
ELECTRIC LITERATURE

DARE is a project of PEN America’s #LouderTogether campaign, bringing you a daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. Send your feedback and story suggestions to DARE@pen.org