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As second-hand reports emerge of inhumane conditions at detention facilities for migrants, limits on access to members of the press come under scrutiny. (See PEN America’s statement demanding greater press access to detention facilities here.) Stephanie Grisham, aide to the First Lady, named new White House press secretary. Special counsel Robert Mueller set to testify before Congress on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Omarosa Manigault Newman, former White House aide who qualified Trump as racist in her tell-all book, is the target of a Justice Department financial disclosure complaint. Romance writers found to be at increased risk of online harassment and abuse. (See PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual for resources and avenues for recourse for those facing online harassment.) -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Migrant Children Are Suffering at the Border. But Reporters Are Kept Away from the Story.
Reporters are unable to see the facilities themselves or speak to any of the children. Instead, they rely on descriptions provided by lawyers and advocates who are granted access under a legal settlement with the Border Patrol.

In Arizona, Trump’s New Press Secretary Battled Reporters
After a hard-hitting exposé on a powerful politician’s mishandling of taxpayer resources, the Arizona Capitol Times received an email: The seats from which they had covered the state legislature for nearly half a century would be given away. The 2016 email was sent by Stephanie Grisham, the new White House press secretary.

Mueller to Testify before House Committees in July
Mueller agreed to testify before the House judiciary committee and House permanent select committee on intelligence in an open session on July 17, the chairmen of the committees announced on Tuesday, in what is likely to be the most highly anticipated congressional hearing in years.

Justice Department Sues Omarosa over Unfiled Financial Disclosure
The lawsuit says Manigault Newman never filed the report required from departing senior staffers and largely ignored numerous requests from White House lawyers to submit the report following her acrimonious departure from her post as communications director in the Office of Public Liaison.

Romance Novelists Write About Sex and Pleasure. On the Internet That Makes Them Targets for Abuse
With more than 15,000 Twitter followers and a slew of best-selling romance novels, Alisha Rai is used to talking to readers on Twitter, email, and elsewhere on the internet. But with that success and connection also comes near-daily harassment—propositions in her DMs, alongside threats and abuse in her inbox.


Fiance of Slain Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Calls for Global Criminal Probe *PEN Case List: Lear more
Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen, said on the sidelines at the Human Rights Council there is “an urgent need” for an international criminal probe into Khasshoggi’s “premeditated murder,” after a new report concluded Saudi Arabia is responsible.

Myanmar Journalists Reject Army’s Criticism of Coverage as Politicians Defend Rakhine Internet Shutdown
Days after Myanmar’s powerful military criticized domestic media for reporting only negative stories about the armed forces, some journalists fired back, saying they are not tools for disseminating army propaganda in the Southeast Asian nation.

Outrage over Ethiopia’s Continuing Internet Blackout
An internet shutdown has been in force across Ethiopia since Saturday, after a group of soldiers staged a failed coup in Amhara state. The outage has frustrated citizens who rely on online services for information and for conducting business in one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

Banned from the Chinese Internet, LGBT Fanfiction Writers Find New Home on U.S. Website
In China, creating fanworks can sometimes come with significant legal consequences, especially if what you’re writing is homoerotic. That’s why Chinese users are flocking to Archive Of Our Own, a fanfic site that allows broad free expression to fans who want to write fanworks, including LGBT fans.

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