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The New York Times reports that the recently resigned Homeland Security secretary, responsible for cyberdefense, was told not to bring up preparations to secure the 2020 elections against Russian interference in front of President Trump. With the administration contending that social media platforms censor conservatives online, the president meets privately with the CEO of Twitter and unleashes 50 tweets and retweets in a 24-hour period, mainly lashing out at news outlets and individuals in the media. The White House also orders administration officials to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


In Push for 2020 Election Security, Top Official Was Warned: Don’t Tell Trump
In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, she tried to focus the White House on one of her highest priorities as homeland security secretary: preparing for new and different Russian forms of interference in the 2020 election. President Trump’s chief of staff told her not to bring it up in front of the president.

Trump Meets with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Hours after Bashing the Company in Tweets
President Donald Trump said he had a “great meeting” Tuesday with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, hours after bashing the company and accusing it of not treating him well because he’s a Republican. Twitter described the meeting as constructive and said it came at the president’s invitation.

Furious Trump Orders Officials to Boycott Correspondents’ Dinner
President Trump ordered officials in his administration to boycott Saturday’s annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. The move came after Trump spent the morning insulting the news media on Twitter, calling MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough a “Psycho” and musing about New York Times reporters getting “down on their knees” to apologize to him after his 2020 re-election victory.

Round 2: ACLU of Iowa Says State’s New AG-Gag Law Violates Free Speech Protections
Iowa’s second attempt to make it a crime for animal welfare activists, journalists, and others to go undercover at meatpacking plants and livestock facilities will face a legal challenge. The ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s new ag-gag law, saying it’s unconstitutional, chills free speech and criminalizes a free press.


Democracy Is on the Ropes in Myanmar and the Rest of the World
Authoritarian leaders from Turkey to Vietnam are silencing the news media. The latest annual index of press freedom in 180 countries published by Reporters Without Borders “shows that an intense climate of fear has been triggered” in many places, raising the danger level for journalists.

Hong Kong Umbrella Movement Leaders Are Sentenced to Prison
A Hong Kong court has sentenced democracy activists to prison terms of up to 16 months for their roles in demonstrations that led to a 79-day occupation of major roads in 2014.

Egypt President Could Rule until 2030 as Constitutional Changes Backed
Egyptians have overwhelmingly approved in a referendum constitutional changes that could allow President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2030. Since 2013, Sisi has overseen what human rights groups say is an unprecedented crackdown on dissent that has led to the detention of tens of thousands of people.

Made in China, Exported to the World: The Surveillance State
“The high-powered cameras send what they see to 16 monitoring centers in Ecuador that employ more than 3,000 people. Armed with joysticks, the police control the cameras and scan the streets for drug deals, muggings and murders. If they spy something, they zoom in. This voyeur’s paradise is made with technology from what is fast becoming the global capital of surveillance: China.”

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