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DARE To Be Informed

PEN America’s take on the most pressing threats to free expression


Americans’ right to protest is in grave danger under Trump, United Nations warns
The right to protest is fundamental to American democracy. The country was born, after all, out of decades of civil disobedience. But according to United Nations human rights investigators, this very basic principle is under attack.

The Historic Women’s March After President Trump’s Inauguration Just Won a Prestigious Award
The worldwide women’s marches that millions attended the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration are being honored at this year’s PEN Literary Gala. PEN America said on Wednesday that “The Women’s March” has won the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award.

Trump administration considers far-reaching steps for ‘extreme vetting’
Foreigners who want to visit the U.S., even for a short trip, could be forced to disclose contacts on their mobile phones, social media passwords, and financial records, and to answer probing questions about their ideology, according to Trump administration officials conducting a review of vetting procedures.

Here’s How The White House Is Legitimizing The Pro-Trump Media
Donald Trump is the nation’s most powerful assignment editor. The pro-Trump “Upside-Down” media is working hard to go mainstream, and it’s doing so with help of a powerful ally: the White House.

Why Authoritarians Attack the Arts
Art creates pathways for subversion, for political understanding and solidarity among coalition builders. Art teaches us that lives other than our own have value. Like the proverbial court jester who can openly mock the king in his own court, artists who occupy marginalized social positions can use their art to challenge structures of power in ways that would otherwise be dangerous or impossible.


Mexican newspaper closes citing insecurity for journalists
A newspaper in the Mexican border city of Juarez announced Sunday that it is shutting down because the rampant, unpunished killings of journalists in the country have made it too dangerous to go on.

China to roll out new internet censorship tools nationwide
New rules banning the use of tools to get around internet censorship could soon be rolled out nationwide in China. Individuals and companies that use tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent the complex array of censorship that limits what Chinese internet users can see online will be ordered to disconnect.

Russia Is Trying to Copy China’s Approach to Internet Censorship
The internet is also a powerful tool for Putin’s opposition. The internet helped spark Russia’s largest anti-government protests in five years. Russia responded by blocking access to webpages that promoted demonstrations.This is part of a larger story. Just a few years ago, Russians had a mostly free internet. Now, Russian authorities would like to imitate China’s model of internet control.

Facing Death Threats And A Ban On His Novel, A Palestinian Author Flees
Abbad Yahya, a 28-year-old Palestinian novelist, is in exile after the Palestinian Authority banned his latest book, Crime in Ramallah, calling it indecent. Particular offense was taken to a gay character in the book who, in one scene, seems to be defiling the memory of a late Palestinian leader.

Double standards: Do all journalist lives matter?
Little attention is paid to reporters from the Global South who are killed, abused, or left stranded by foreign media. When the story dies down, they are often left to deal alone with hostile governments or non-state actors.

Deeper Analysis

Kidnapped, Tortured and Thrown in Jail: My 70 Days in Sudan
Twelve years after reporting on the conflict in Darfur, film-maker Phil Cox returned. But this time, the Sudanese government put a price on his head. He was captured, tortured, and spent 40 days in a Sudanese prison.

Reporters Without Borders Picks Taiwan For Asian Bureau
Reporters Without Borders, which advocates press freedom, announced on Thursday that it would open its first Asian bureau in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, rather than in Hong Kong, which is increasingly under China’s sway.


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