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Nearly 2 million employees of the federal government have been warned against making statements about impeaching or resisting President Trump, in an unprecedented expansion of the application of the Hatch Act. Swastikas spray-painted on Black Panthers mural in Los Angeles. College Media Association censures University of North Alabama after administrators allegedly fire a student newspaper adviser over a negative story. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Federal Employees Are Warned Not to Discuss Trump ‘Resistance’ at Work
Roughly 2 million people who work for the federal government were told that it now may be illegal for them to discuss Trump “resistance” at work—a pronouncement that legal specialists say breaks new ground, and that some criticized as going too far.

Black Panthers Mural in Los Angeles Defaced with Swastikas
A mural celebrating African-American achievement was defaced with swastikas on Thursday in Los Angeles. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Four swastikas were spray painted over the faces of four Black Panthers featured in the mural.

U of North Alabama Censured Over Free Press Issues
The College Media Association has censured the University of North Alabama after administrators there allegedly fired the adviser of the student newspaper over a negative story it published.

America, Heal Thyself *PEN Staff
“With the 2018 midterm elections receding in the rearview mirror, there is an argument to be made that this time around demonstrated that the American political system broadly “works.” … So does our election system work? Not so fast. The jury is still out, and there is reason to be pessimistic.”

Swastikas, Other Hateful Graffiti on Columbia Professor’s Walls Spur Her to Speak out and Fight
Elizabeth Midlarsky’s outspokenness against an appearance at Columbia by the Iranian leader in 2007 led to a swastika being painted on her door, and two anti-semitic fliers being left in her mailbox. She reported the incidents, and kept on advocating, teaching, and researching.
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China’s Uighurs Assigned ‘Relatives’ Who Report to the State
The Uighur homeland has been blanketed with stifling surveillance, from armed checkpoints on street corners to facial-recognition-equipped CCTV cameras steadily surveying passers-by. Now, Uighurs say, they must live under the watchful eye of the ruling Communist Party even inside their own homes.

Facebook to Require Proof That Political Ads Come from U.K.
Every political advert on Facebook will now be required to come from someone who has proved they live in the U.K., and carry a disclaimer revealing who paid for it, the site has confirmed.

Google Shut out Privacy and Security Teams from Secret China Project
Google’s leadership considered Dragonfly so sensitive that they would often not take written notes during high-level meetings to reduce the paper trail. Some engineers and other staff who were informed about the project were told that they risked losing their jobs if they dared to discuss it with colleagues who were not involved.

‘Suffocated’ after Alam’s Detention, Bangladeshi Artist Exhibits in India
“In Bangladesh and South Asia, we need to merge culture with activism and raise our voices through art,” said artist Mahbubur Rahman, a close associate of recently-released photojournalist Shahidul Alam. “[But] very recently, I felt suffocated and muzzled. After Shahidul Alam, I have a big question: Who are we doing this for?”

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