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Incoming Harvard freshman from Lebanon has his visa revoked and is deported after U.S. reviews social media posts made by his friends. (See PEN America’s statement here on the troubling news). First-ever LA Press Freedom Week announced for this September, in partnership with The Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Foreign Press Association, to spotlight conversations around press freedom and protection of the First Amendment. (Learn more about PEN America’s spotlight event at LA Press Freedom Week on press freedom at the U.S. border on September 17th). Representative Devin Nunes files defamation lawsuit against McClatchy, following another defamation suit he brought in March against Twitter for its promotion of parody accounts about him. (See PEN America’s statement on Nunes’ lawsuit against Twitter). Expert Zeynep Tufekci provides analysis of the way the internet and proliferation of disinformation have created a culture of distrust. (See PEN America’s report on the spread of disinformation online).
Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Incoming Harvard Freshman Deported After Visa Revoked
While most Harvard freshmen settle into their dorms Tuesday, one new student, Ismail B. Ajjawi ’23, was reportedly turned away at Boston’s airport and sent home because of friends’ social media posts.

Devin Nunes serves McClatchy with lawsuit four months after announcing complaint
Rep. Devin Nunes on Monday served the McClatchy company with a lawsuit he announced four months ago alleging that news articles it published defamed him in the months leading up to his closer-than-usual re-election in 2018.

The Internet Has Made Dupes—and Cynics—of Us All
In this opinion piece, scholar Zeynep Tufekci writes that the internet was supposed to not only democratize information but also rationalize it—to create markets where impartial metrics would automatically surface the truest ideas and best products, at a vast and incorruptible scale. But deception and corruption, as we’ve all seen by now, scale pretty fantastically, too.

Los Angeles Times and HFPA Announce First-Ever L.A. Press Freedom Week
L.A. Press Freedom Week is a week-long slate of events that will spotlight conversations around the protection of the First Amendment and engage the public and the journalism community in and around Los Angeles. With three anchor events amid a series of satellite ones, leading experts, top journalists including NBC News’ Lester Holt, and supporting partners, L.A. Press Freedom Week will highlight the threats to a free press — and show what we can all do to defend it.


Chinese censorship laws could prompt foreign book publishers to look elsewhere for printers
Publishers from Australia and New Zealand are looking for printers outside China after falling foul of censorship laws that require maps to be vetted. It’s a further move toward China’s censorship rules extending outside the country’s borders.

Blasphemy laws are quietly vanishing in liberal democracies
People who monitor the freedom of religion-related speech in the West, especially Europe, see no reason to be complacent. Whether because of old habits that die hard, or because of new ideas about how to manage diverse societies, threats to the freedom of expression are still palpable and in some ways rising, they say.

Brazil’s Secretary of Culture Steps Down Over Censorship of LGBTQ Programming
Henrique Medeiros Pires, Brazil’s special secretary of culture, tendered his resignation on Wednesday, August 21, in protest of the conservative government’s alleged censorship of LGBTQ television production.

Making a Movie and Surviving China’s Censors
Lou Ye, a Chinese director, has had years of problems getting his movies approved. But that is not the case for his latest, “Saturday Fiction,” which premieres in Venice.

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. An article’s inclusion does not imply endorsement by PEN America. We welcome your comments. Send your feedback and story suggestions to DARE@pen.org