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Attorney General Jeff Sessions goes to Georgetown University to exercise his free-speech rights to attack American higher education institutions for what he sees as impingement on those rights for students. (Read PEN America’s statement on the larger issues at stake in the campus speech debate.) Twitter to test move from 140 to 280 characters in posts. President Trump deletes his supportive tweets when his candidate in the Alabama Senate race loses, adding to questions about social media and the requirements of the Presidential Records Act. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Sessions criticizes U.S. universities for their free-speech policies
At his speech in Georgetown, Jeff Sessions attacked American colleges and universities for being “politically correct,” infringing on students’ free-speech rights, and capitulating to the demands of loud protesters.

Twitter just doubled the character limit for tweets to 280
Twitter has doubled its character limit in an effort to help users be more expressive. “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English,” the company said.

Trump Deletes Tweets Supporting Luther Strange
The deleted tweets were archived by ProPublica, a nonprofit journalism website, but are no longer public on Twitter, feeding into an intriguing legal debate about whether President Trump is breaking the law when he expunges his tweets.

Twitter explains why it won’t take down Trump’s North Korea tweet
The company said it takes a number of factors into account when faced with controversial user-generated content, including its “newsworthiness” and whether it has “public interest,” adding that it stands by its commitment to “keeping people informed about what’s happening in the world.”

How Fake News Turned a Small Town Upside Down
A report inaccurately blaming Syrian refugees for a crime spread throughout Twin Falls. As more time passed without a solid account of what happened, lurid rumors continued to surface online and came to dominate conversations in grocery stores and at school events, sparking an outcry of hatred and anger.


Russia Committed ‘Grave’ Rights Abuses in Crimea, U.N. Says *PEN Case List
Russia has committed “multiple and grave” human rights abuses in Crimea, the United Nations said, including arbitrary arrests, torture, and the imposition of Russian citizenship on the region’s former Ukrainian residents. The case of filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was arrested in 2014 on charges of “plotting terrorist acts,” was cited.

Women in Saudi Arabia still can’t do these things
Marry, divorce, travel, open a bank account, or get a job without permission from their male guardians; mix freely with members of the opposite sex; appear in public without wearing a full-length black abaya; get a fair hearing in court; eat at restaurants that don’t have a separate designated family section.

A Russian love story about Nicholas II and a ballerina leads to death threats
Russian police burst into an apartment complex and arrested three men, including the leader of an extremist religious group, for calling on supporters to burn down movie theaters planning to show the film Matilda. Someone had already tried to set fire to the director’s studios and to several cars near his attorney’s offices.

Bassel Khartabil: “Of my experience spending three years in jail so far for writing open source code (mainly) I can tell how much authoritarian regimes feel the danger of technology on their continuity, and they should be afraid of that. As code is much more than tools, it’s education that opens youth minds and moves the nations forward. Who can stop that? No one.”

DARE is a project of PEN America’s #LouderTogether campaign, bringing you a daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. Send your feedback and story suggestions to [email protected]