Debates rage on over ouster of Sarah Huckabee Sanders from Red Hen restaurant, with the White House spokesperson styling herself as a standard-bearer for civility and a victim of its opposite. Supreme Court sends LGBT rights challenge to a florist back to lower courts, ordering reconsideration in light of its recent Cakeshop decision. Trump levels new round of slurs and denigration against the news media, filing up followers at a South Carolina rally. Bipartisan report argues for robust defenses against future interference with US democracy. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer

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


Sarah Huckabee Sanders Adopts the Mantle of Grievance
Amid the ongoing family separation crisis, the White House press secretary focused the national conversation on her ejection from a restaurant over the policy. “We are allowed to disagree, but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm,” she said in a press briefing.

Supreme Court Throws Out Case Against Florist Who Refused to do Arrangement for Gay Wedding
The Supreme Court threw out a lower court ruling that found a Washington state florist had intentionally discriminated against a same-sex couple for refusing to make flower arrangements for their wedding. The case has been sent to the Washington Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision.

In South Carolina Rally, Trump Targets Sanford, McCain and TV Comedians
Among many other things, Trump attacked the news media at his South Carolina rally, calling them “fake news” and other insults. After attacking Gallup, he also called public opinion polls “fake.” Earlier in the night, the crowd chanted “go home Jim” at CNN’s Jim Acosta.

Bipartisan Report Warns Against Future Democracy Interference
A bipartisan report is warning American institutions about future meddling in the US democratic system, following the 2016 election. The Alliance for Securing Democracy said that the tech and media worlds, in addition to the U.S. government, should take “immediate actions.”

The Red Hen Affair: Demands for ‘Civility’ are Almost Always Aimed at Shutting Down Free Speech
“The truth is that, as urged upon critics by their targets, pleas for ‘civility’ are a fraud. As aired by members of the critical camp themselves, the pleas are a trap. More often than not, the result is to blunt the impact of the critique and enfeeble the opposition. That is, of course, what the targets hope for.”


Pakistan Media Says It’s Targeted in Army’s ‘Systematic, Creeping, Coup’
After it published an interview with ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that was critical of the military’s counterterrorism efforts, soldiers confiscated copies of the Dawn newspaper in army-controlled regions, officials harassed its distributors, and cable TV networks dropped the group’s TV news station, the company says.

Ukip Welcomes Social Media Activists Linked to ‘Alt-Right’ Into Party
The UK Independence Party has allowed three “alt-right” social media personalities to join the party. They include Paul Joseph Watson, who is a senior editor at InfoWars, and Carl Benjamin, who has been accussed of instigating online harassment.

Espionage Bill Could Make Some Protests Criminal Acts
A new espionage bill could criminalize protests and communication of opinions harmful to the Australian government, according to legal advice produced for the activist group GetUp.

Shujaat Bukhari Murder: Kashmir Journalists Take Out Rally, Seek Action Against BJP MLA
Journalists in Kashmir protested the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari, and demanded that the governor take action against BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh for issuing “threats” against the media.

China’s Hainan Quickly Backtracks on Plan to Offer Censorship-Free Internet for Foreign Tourists
Originally intended to boost tourism, the move instead ignited an outburst among Chinese netizens. Many took the opportunity to express outrage at the extensive internet censorship apparatus imposed on them by the Chinese regime.

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