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Senators unveil bill that would put transparency requirements on political ads carried by Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and the audiences they target. In emotional remarks to White House press corps defending President Trump’s call to a soldier’s widow, Chief of Staff John Kelly raises questions about who can speak of or for those who lose relatives in combat, at one point asking only reporters who knew a Gold Star family to raise their hands with queries. White nationalist Richard Spencer is heckled by a crowd of mostly protesters during an appearance on the University of Florida campus. PolitiFact counts 153 times President Trump has invoked the phrase “fake news” in 2017, almost always in response to critical news coverage. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


U.S. lawmakers want crackdown on Facebook, Twitter political ads
The legislation would expand existing election law covering television and radio outlets to apply to paid internet and digital advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc, and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

Kelly lends Trump powerful and personal credibility
What he wanted to convey, one administration official said, is that this was a serious time, and attacks were being lobbed that were not factual or fair—from people unqualified to make them and who had not suffered. He asked only reporters who knew a Gold Star family to raise their hands with questions.

Richard Spencer Shouted Down in Florida, Cuts His Speech Short
University of Florida officials defended their decision to let the event go ahead, arguing Spencer had a right to speak. About 2,500 protesters showed up. Protesters sitting in the audience shouted “go home, Spencer” and raised their fists throughout Spencer’s talk, drowning him out several times.

The media’s definition of fake news vs. Donald Trump’s
Instead of fabricated content, Trump uses the term to describe news coverage that is unsympathetic to his administration and his performance, even when the news reports are accurate. Trump is so taken with the phrase “fake news,” that he’s mentioned it at least 153 separate times in interviews, on Twitter, and in speeches.

Nearly two dozen activists arrested where nuns are protesting a pipeline
Most of the people arrested were local residents; one traveled from Massachusetts and another from West Virginia to join the protest. Mark Clutterbuck, who leads the group Lancaster Against Pipelines, said that almost 100 people participated in the demonstration.


Human Rights Law Firm to Defend Telegram in Government Encryption Row
Pavel Chikov, head of Agora, a law firm which publishes an annual report on Internet freedom, has defended high-profile activists and independent journalists including Oleg Kashin and Pussy Riot’s Yekaterina Samutsevich.

Azerbaijan: Seeking to Arrest Critical Journalists throughout the Ex-USSR
International media freedom advocacy groups are concerned that the Azerbaijani government’s vendetta against the free press is spreading internationally as journalists critical of the Aliyev administration head abroad to continue their work.

Israeli forces raid several Palestinian media production companies
The raids came hours after the Israeli government said in a statement that it would not recognize an emerging Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas unless it made radical changes, including recognizing Israel and handing over its weapons.

U.K. plans new university ‘free speech rules’
The role of the Office for Students is to ensure that institutions recognise the “importance of freedom of speech and the role it plays in ensuring open debate … the aim is to ensure students are exposed to a wide range of issues and ideas in a safe environment without fear of censorship, rebuke or reprisal.”

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