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DARE To Be Informed

PEN America’s take on the most pressing threats to free expression


Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, Charged With Assault, Awaits Fate in Vote
The Republican candidate in a hotly contested special House election in Montana was charged with assaulting a journalist on Wednesday at what was to be a final rally in Bozeman on the eve of the vote. The attack brought police officers to the event and sent the reporter to the hospital for X-rays.

Tillerson holds press conference without US reporters
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a press conference Sunday without U.S. reporters, according to multiple reports. Tillerson reportedly held the press conference in Riyadh, but U.S. reporters were not told about it, according to their tweets. After reports came out about that briefing, the White House announced Tillerson will hold a brief gaggle on Monday on Air Force One, according to pool reports.

Fox News Retracts Story Linking Murder of D.N.C. Aide to 2016 Presidential Campaign
Fox News on Tuesday retracted a story linking the murder of a Democratic National Committee staff member with the email hacks that aided President Trump’s campaign, effectively quashing a conspiracy theory that had taken hold across the right-wing news media. It was a rare acknowledgment of error by the network.

Donald Trump’s Newly Released 2018 Budget Calls for Eliminating the NEA
Donald Trump’s much-anticipated 2018 budget proposes steep cuts to domestic programs—including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A spokesperson for the NEA confirms that the president’s 2018 budget proposes the elimination of the department, and includes a request for $29 million from Congress to shut down the agency in an orderly fashion.


Court approves challenge by novelist Ahmed Naji, orders retrial*PEN Case List
The Court of Cassation has approved the challenge filed by novelist Ahmed Naji, canceling his prison sentence and ordering his retrial. Khaled Ali, a lawyer in Naji’s defense team, said this verdict shows that Naji spent a long time in jail despite being innocent, especially as “he did nothing but offer excellent work”.

How other countries are trying to censor the Internet
Many of those who built the Internet are libertarian types — First Amendment fans who regard uncensored access to information as an unquestionably good thing, a natural right. The trouble is, most of the world doesn’t think that way. Their pushback gets more aggressive by the month, and that will test how far major US companies such as Google and Facebook would bend their principles to protect their profits.

After Maryland student’s speech, mockery and anger in China
Delivering her commencement address at the University of Maryland, Yang Shuping said “when I took my first breath of American air, I put my mask away. The air was so sweet and fresh, and oddly luxurious. Democracy and freedom are the fresh air worth fighting for.” China’s foreign ministry weighed in, saying it was aware the issue was being widely discussed online, and that any Chinese citizen should “make remarks responsibly”.

Journalist abducted in Mexico amid spate of media killings
Mexican journalist Salvador Adame has been abducted by armed men in the south of the country, officials and family have said. The kidnapping comes just days after another journalist was murdered on the street.

Deeper Analysis

The world is going to $#!+, but our language shouldn’t
Profanity, which is a perennial cause of controversy in popular culture, is now sweeping through the “resistance” communities that oppose Trump. Of course, this moment feels extreme and unprecedented, but the embrace of profanity is a trap. It can only lead to exactly the sort of degradation — of language, discourse and thinking — that those who use it decry.

Wiping out Net neutrality helps only big telecom firms
Wasn’t it stirring when millions of protesters rallied for “paid prioritization” — demanding that Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast be allowed to promote services that they own, while slowing down traffic to would-be competitors? No, I don’t remember that either, because it never happened. Still, President Trump’s FCC wants to gut Net neutrality anyway, despite strong public sentiment that Internet service providers shouldn’t discriminate among content providers.


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