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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sues Texas A&M University for suppressing critical comments on the college’s Facebook page. Soros Foundations to depart Hungary under pressure from a hostile government. Evangelical journalist afforded broad access at the White House. Cannes Film Festival deals with #metoo fallout. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer

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


PETA sues Texas A&M president, says university blocked them on Facebook over dog research comments
According to the suit, the comments criticized a university researcher’s testing on dogs that PETA believes is cruel and inhumane; Texas A&M censored PETA’s comments by automatically blocking certain words, including “PETA,” “cruelty” and “lab” from the comments on its Facebook posts.

An Evangelical journalist finds his calling at the White House
While Trump attacks major news organizations and suggests revoking credentials for outlets he deems “Fake News,” the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody enjoy a closeness to the White House foreign to most reporters. In return, Trump gets a direct line to conservative evangelicals, his most supportive voters.

Reacting to plunging revenues, Salt Lake Tribune lays off a third of its newsroom, cuts back print offerings
In a radical restructuring of Utah’s largest newspaper and 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner, owners proceeded with cutting 34 employees from a newsroom staff of 90, along with the elimination of key print sections and some well-known writers, in response to sharp declines in print circulation and advertising revenues.

Activists kick off new Poor People’s Campaign, echoing MLK in 1968
40 days of planned protests and actions are intended to highlight issues of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the societal cost of America’s military buildup. Organizers want to lift poor people to the top of the nation’s agenda, disrupting the mainstream political conversation, lawmakers, pundits, and the 24-hour news cycle dominated by the Trump administration.


Soros Foundations leaving Hungary under government pressure
George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, which promote democracy, free expression, and civil rights, have come under growing political and legal pressure from Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has stifled dissent and declared last week that “the era of liberal democracy is over,” and plans to move their operations to Berlin.

Cannes, where Weinstein reigned, reckons with #MeToo fallout
The reverberations of #MeToo are shaking up Cannes, but, argues Farah Nayeri, “if the world’s most prestigious cinema competition is reckoning with the industry’s dark past, it also must deal with its present-day deficits. Of the 21 films vying for this year’s Palme d’Or, for example, programmers picked only three directed by women.”

Editor of Bangkok Post ‘forced to step down’ over coverage of government
Umesh Pandey said the board of directors had asked him to “tone down” the newspaper’s reporting and editorials on the actions of the military government, particularly over their suppression of freedom of speech and the delays over long-promised elections.

Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. People are demanding action.
A year after journalist and co-founder of the independent Rio Doce Javier Valdez’s death and ahead of presidential elections in July, co-founder Ismael Bojórquez, other independent media, and advocacy groups organize a week of rallies around Mexico to celebrate his life and demand an end to impunity in the killing of journalists.

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