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DARE To Be Informed

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


PEN America’s new report: Trump the Truth
PEN America released Trump the Truth: Free Expression in the President’s First 100 Days on Thursday, documenting over 70 incidents of the White House undermining the press to date, more than the number of working days since Trump took office.

FCC Announces Plan to Reverse Title II Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission is opening the net neutrality debate again with a proposal to undo the 2015 legislation. The argument for net neutrality is that the limitations put on internet providers are worth the tradeoff for keeping the internet open. If internet providers can control or influence which websites you visit, that’ll hugely tip the scales in favor of their own services.

Donald Trump’s ‘Media Bashing’ Is Already Hurting America’s Press Freedom Ranking
The freedom of information advocacy group, also known as Reporters Sans Frontières, has released its annual World Press Freedom Index. The new rankings show the U.S. has slipped from 41st to 43rd place since last year’s index, largely driven by “toxic” campaign rhetoric leading up to the presidential election.

Journalist Sues Troll Over Twitter Assault
When journalist Kurt Eichenwald checked his Twitter account, he saw a flashing tweet that said “You Deserve a Seizure for Your Posts,” and fell to the ground in a fit of epilepsy. Eichenwald responded by filing a civil lawsuit against John Rivello, a former Marine who allegedly sent the tweet, and claiming HE is liable for assault and battery and other charges.


Oleg Sentsov sends Moving Response to PEN America Freedom to Write Award
PEN America’s honoring of Ukrainian filmmaker and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov at its 2017 PEN Literary Gala would have been a very special event under any circumstances. It was made particularly poignant by the letter from Oleg that was heard for the first time, together with a powerful address from his cousin Natalya Kaplan who accepted the award on his behalf.

Cameroon Jails Journalist Over Boko Haram Allegations
In a ruling that human rights groups called “outrageous”, a court in Cameroon has sentenced Ahmed Abba, a correspondent for Radio France Internationale, to ten years in prison after he was convicted for “non-denunciation of terrorist acts” and “laundering the proceeds of terrorist acts.”

Threats over gay crackdown coverage force Russian journalist into hiding
Elena Milashina, a journalist at the Russian-language Novaya Gazeta newspaper, said she abandoned her apartment in Moscow and plans to leave Russia altogether after Muslim clerics in Chechnya delivered a fiery sermon calling for “retribution” against her and other journalists.

How Journalism Became a Crime in Turkey
With the April 16 referendum, Turkey took its first step into a new era. It is a step toward institutionalizing a populist model of governance that will open new ground for violations and tensions in vital areas such as supremacy of law and freedom of speech as they relate to opposition and the media.

Deeper Analysis

Confessions of a (Former) State TV Reporter
Standing in the middle of the newsroom, Kiselyov, head of RIA Novosti, delivered his vision of the future: “You know, there is freedom of speech in our country. But the period of impartial journalism is over. Objectivity is a myth that we have been offered; it has been imposed on us. I myself used to abide by these principles, but I went through an internal evolution,” he said.

Let Ann Coulter speak
Good intentions and legitimate concerns don’t absolve the university of its fundamental responsibility to free expression and unfettered debate. Berkeley made serious mistakes in its handling of the Coulter controversy and now must work doubly hard to address the challenge of ensuring that controversial speakers invited to campus have meaningful access to student audiences.


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