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Arundhati Roy looks at the role of literature and writing in her Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at PEN World Voices Festival. Journalist’s home raided by police after he declines to reveal a reporting source, drawing attention the from First Amendment community. After state of Georgia loses copyright case against Public Resource, both parties ask the Supreme Court to hear the case and determine who ‘owns’ the law. San Francisco will vote today on whether to ban facial recognition technology, weighing free expression and privacy concerns for its residents. Author Natasha Tynes’s book deal in jeopardy after criticizing Metro employee who ate on train. -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Literature Provides Shelter. That’s Why We Need It
“So, as we lurch into the future, in this blitzkrieg of idiocy, Facebook “likes,” fascist marches, fake-news coups, and what looks like a race toward extinction—what is literature’s place? What counts as literature? Who decides? Obviously, there is no single, edifying answer to these questions. So I’m going to talk about my own experience of being a writer during these times.”

A Reporter Declined To Reveal His Source. Then Police Showed Up at His Front Door with Guns.
Bryan Carmody, a freelance reporter in San Francisco, awoke Friday to the sounds of about 10 police officers trying to enter his home. Two weeks before, investigators asked him to identify the source who provided him with a confidential police report about the February death of the city’s public defender, Jeff Adachi.

Accused of ‘Terrorism’ for Putting Legal Materials Online
When Public.Resource.org posted the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the state sued for copyright infringement, characterizing this as part of a “strategy of terrorism.” A federal appeals court ruled against the state. Both the state and PublicResource.org have asked the Supreme Court to hear the dispute.

San Francisco Is Voting Today To Ban the City’s use of Facial Recognition Technology
If enacted, the ordinance would require that any technology that could be used by city departments for surveillance purposes, including license plate readers, closed-circuit and body cameras, biometrics technology, and software for forecasting criminal activity, must receive both a public input period and supervisor approval before it could be implemented.

A D.C. Author Shamed a Metro Worker for Eating on the Train. Now Her Book Deal Is in Jeopardy.
Author Natasha Tynes ignited a firestorm on social media after criticizing a Metro employee for eating on the train, contrary to Metro rules. In response to the incident, Rare Birds Books, a publishing house that was set to distribute Tynes’s upcoming novel, “They Called Me Wyatt,” has decided not to do so.


Outlets Strive For Independence In Hungary, Where Most Media Back The Government
Over the past decade, Viktor Orban’s government and its allies have systematically taken control of roughly 90% of media outlets. Late last year, hundreds of pro-Orban TV, radio, print, and online outlets merged into a conglomerate. Gabor Gyori, a senior analyst at the Budapest-based Policy Solutions think tank, calls it a “centralized propaganda machine.”

Colombian Filmmaker Shot Dead Reporting Documentary on Violence
Mauricio Lezama was conducting interviews in the town of Arauquita, working on a documentary entitled Mayo, about a nurse murdered in the region during Colombia’s armed conflict. A man who was working with the filmmaker was injured.

Prominent Former Afghan TV Journalist Shot Dead In Kabul
Prominent former television journalist Mena Mangal was shot in Kabul on May 11 while waiting for a car. Mangal had posted recently on her social-media pages that she was receiving death threats from unknown sources. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Turkish Opposition Journalist Hospitalized Following Attack
The Yenicag newspaper said Yavuz Selim Demirag, a journalist critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and its nationalist allies, was beaten up by about five or six people with baseball bats after appearing on a TV show Friday.

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