DARE: The many reactions to Michelle Wolf’s speech
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While President Trump vilifies journalists at Michigan rally, debate erupts over whether comedian’s routine was too harsh at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington. BuzzFeed finds Department of Justice overhaul of its manual for federal prosecutors deletes section titled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial.” Conservative media outlet RedState cuts writers critical of President Trump and freezes site. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer
The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today
The many reactions to Michelle Wolf’s speech
“Michelle Wolf is a comedian,” WHCA President Margaret Talev said in response to calls for Wolf to apologize for her speech at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. “She speaks for herself, and it’s her right to do that under free speech in the First Amendment, which we were celebrating.”
The Justice Department Deleted Language About Press Freedom And Racial Gerrymandering From Its Internal Manual
The media contacts policy was updated in the manual in November. A subsection titled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” was removed entirely. The added language reemphasizing the illegality of leaking classified information echoes Sessions’ and the Trump administration’s efforts to tamp down government leakers.
Trump critics fired at conservative site RedState
Erick Erickson, a RedState founder who left the site in 2015, stated the dividing line was drawn between supporters of the president while “those insufficiently loyal to the President were fired.” RedState staffers were reportedly locked out of their accounts on a temporary or permanent basis while the firings were being carried out.
The Era of Fake Video Begins
But the problem isn’t just the proliferation of falsehoods. Fabricated videos will create new and understandable suspicions about everything we watch. Politicians and publicists will exploit those doubts. When captured in a moment of wrongdoing, a culprit will simply declare the visual evidence a malicious concoction.
Whistleblowing Myanmar policeman sentenced to jail *PEN Case List
Moe Yan Naing, a Myanmar police officer who told a court his colleagues had tried to “entrap” Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, has been handed a prison term. The case against the Reuters reporters has compounded fears about slipping press freedoms in Myanmar, a fledgling democracy riven with ethnic conflicts.
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Double Kabul suicide bombing kills 25, including 9 reporters
“I saw journalists covered with blood, this time they targeted the media,” taxi driver Jawed Ghulam Sakhi said of the attacks. The presidential palace has released a statement saying that attacks targeting innocent civilians, worshippers inside the mosques, reporters and freedom of speech all are war crimes.
Danish national first to be convicted under Malaysia’s fake news law
Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman was charged with spreading false news after posting a YouTube video accusing police of taking 50 minutes to respond to the shooting of a Palestinian lecturer. Governments elsewhere in Southeast Asia have proposed laws aimed at clamping down on “fake news,” to the dismay of media rights advocates.
Kenya Bans Film About 2 Girls in Love Because It’s ‘Too Hopeful’
The film ban comes as Kenyan courts are reconsidering colonial-era laws discriminating against gays and lesbians. Director Wanuri Kahiu said the ban amounted to creative censorship and violated her constitutional rights. “Under the Constitution, we have the right to freedom of expression,” she said.
NEW YORK TIMES
Thailand frees former magazine editor jailed for royal insult
Activist and former editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk received a 10-year sentence in 2013 for insulting the monarchy, but the Supreme Court reduced his sentence in 2017. Thailand’s lese-majeste law is the world’s strictest, drawing condemnation from the UN and rights groups who say accusers often abuse it for political gain.
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