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An incident report released Friday reveals that Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte misled police investigating his assault of journalist Ben Jacobs. President Trump continues his campaign against athletes’ protest during the national anthem, calling for the NFL to suspend the Oakland Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch, who sat for the U.S. national anthem but stood for the Mexican anthem. Rutgers students and faculty approach a spate of hateful incidents and controversies on campus by engaging in dialogue on hate speech and First Amendment rights. Trials for Inauguration Day protesters, including two journalists, set to begin today. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator

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


Greg Gianforte misled police after assault of Guardian journalist, incident report shows
The records provide new details on the violent altercation that occurred on the eve of a special Congressional election. Reporter Ben Jacobs had approached Gianforte at his campaign headquarters to ask a question about the Republican healthcare bill when Gianforte threw him to the ground and punched him.

Trump rips NFL’s Marshawn Lynch for standing only during Mexican national anthem
President Trump early Monday slammed Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, saying the NFL should suspend him the next time he does not stand for the national anthem. Trump has periodically criticized NFL players who choose to kneel during the national anthem, arguing doing so disrespects the United States.

Amid rising concerns over free speech, Rutgers president addresses student body
President Robert Barchi encouraged students in the audience to develop a comprehensive understanding of the First Amendment and what it protects. Barchi then defended three University faculty members who have been in the press in the last few weeks surrounding issues of free speech.

Amid questions about the line between free speech and rioting, trial to begin in Inauguration Day protest
To the government, the case is strictly about a breach of law and order, an alleged instance of organized, premeditated property destruction. But activists in the courtroom called it a stifling of free speech and a draconian effort by authorities to enforce collective responsibility.


China cyber watchdog rejects censorship critics, says internet must be ‘orderly’
U.S. NGO Freedom House has ranked China last in terms of internet freedom for the third year in a row, criticizing censorship activity targeting ethnic minorities, media and regular citizens. China strict internet censorship rules have hardened this year with restrictions on media outlets and surveillance measures for social media sites.

Media ‘intimidation’ in Lebanon as prominent TV host summoned
Marcel Ghanem was summoned by authorities after his talk show “Kalam Al-Nas” aired with Saudi journalists Ibrahim Al-Merhi and Adhwan Al-Ahmari as guests. But Ghanem has refused to submit to the investigation, citing the rights of journalists, and warning against using his program in the current political crisis in Lebanon.

Bill could see journalists jailed for publishing police leaks
The controversial bill is seen as a measure to curb police authority and an effort to limit the public fallout in corruption probes against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The new version will now allow for the criminal prosecution of anyone who publishes leaks from a criminal investigation without prior approval from a court.

A once closed space opens in Myanmar
The Memory Film Festival event fed into the debate about film censorship in Myanmar by bringing together Myanmar film makers and many directors and film critics from elsewhere in Southeast Asia as well as the West. Lawmakers are currently deliberating to replace the 1996 Motion Picture Law with new regulating legislation.

Turkish LGBTI activists condemn ‘illegal’ ban on events in Ankara
The Ankara governor’s office said on Sunday night it was imposing a ban on all LGBTI cultural events until further notice, citing threats to “public order” and the fear of “provoking reactions within certain segments of society,” days after it banned a festival on German-language gay films in the capital city.

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