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DARE To Be Informed

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

U.S.

Trump threatens to cancel White House briefings because it is ‘not possible’ for his staff to speak with ‘perfect accuracy’
President Trump threatened Friday morning to end White House press briefings, arguing that “it is not possible” for his staff to speak with “perfect accuracy” to the American public. In a pair of tweets sent Friday, Trump suggested he might do away with the daily press briefings at the White House and instead have his spokespeople communicate to the public only via “written responses.”
THE WASHINGTON POST

West Virginia journalist arrested after asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question
Dan Heyman, a journalist with Public News Service, repeatedly asked the secretary whether domestic violence would be considered a preexisting condition under the Republican bill to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, he said. Then, an officer in the capitol pulled him aside, handcuffed him and arrested him. Heyman was jailed on the charge of willful disruption of state government processes and was released later on $5,000 bail.
THE WASHINGTON POST

E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board
A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate.
NEW YORK TIMES

States Consider Legislation To Protect Free Speech On Campus
A handful of states, including Illinois, Tennessee, Colorado and Arizona, have passed or introduced legislation designed to prevent these incidents from happening. The model bill they are based on would require public universities to remain neutral on political issues, prevent them from disinviting speakers, and impose penalties for students and others who interfere with these speakers.
NPR

 
Global

Turkey detains another journalist, opposition newspaper editor
Oguz Guven, the editor of pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper’s online edition, tweeted Friday “I’m being detained.” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said Guven was detained for a news article on the death of prosecutor Mustafa Alper in a traffic accident. Details about the article in question have not been released.
ABC NEWS

The Thai Junta Is Demanding That Facebook Censor Posts It Deems ‘Insulting’ to the Monarchy
The BBC reports that Facebook has been given a list of more than 130 posts that must be removed by next Tuesday, claiming that the content violates the kingdom’s lèse-majesté law — draconian legislation ostensibly meant to protect the image of the royal family but which in practice is used to suppress dissent.
TIME

Christian Governor in Indonesia Found Guilty of Blasphemy Against Islam
An Indonesian court found the Christian governor of the country’s capital, Jakarta, guilty of blasphemy against Islam on Tuesday, sentencing him to two years in prison in a case widely seen as a test of religious tolerance and free speech.
NEW YORK TIMES

Solemn, respectful and cherished: China to tighten rules on how its anthem is sung
China is fine-tuning legislation on the proper way and place to sing its national anthem, tightening rules that already bar people from belting it out at parties, weddings, and funerals. A draft bill is being prepared out of concern that the patriotic ballad is “not universally respected and cherished.”
HONG KONG FREE PRESS

 
Deeper Analysis

Americans’ Attitudes About the News Media Deeply Divided Along Partisan Lines
Democrats and Republicans, who already tend to place their trust in different news sources and rely on different outlets for political news, now disagree more than ever on a fundamental issue of the news media’s role in society: whether news organizations’ criticism of political leaders primarily keeps them from doing things they shouldn’t – or keeps them from doing their job.
PEW RESEARCH CENTER

Ai Weiwei: How Censorship Works
In the space of a month in 2014, at separate art exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai that included my work, my name was blotted out — in one case by government officials and by exhibitors themselves in the other case. Some people might take such treatment in stride, as nothing to get huffy about. But as an artist, I view the labels on my work as a measure of the value I have produced — like water-level markers at a riverbank. Other people might just shrug, but I can’t. I have no illusions, though, that my unwillingness to shrug affects anyone else’s willingness to do so.
NEW YORK TIMES

 

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