‘Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment,’ Portland mayor says. He’s wrong.
As his city mourns two men who were killed after confronting a man screaming anti-Muslim slurs, Mayor Ted Wheeler is calling on federal officials to block what he called “alt-right demonstrations” from happening in downtown Portland, Ore. But history and precedent are not on Wheeler’s side. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that hate speech, no matter how bigoted or offensive, is free speech.

Maybe violence against journalists is starting to become a trend
Who shot out the windows of the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper on Monday? Authorities have yet to identify any suspects or motives, but the shattered windows at the Lexington, Kentucky, offices of the 147-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper is a potent image amid what seems to be increasingly brazen attacks on the media in President Donald Trump’s America.

Sean Spicer returns with a press briefing for the ages
The BBC’s James Landale mistakenly believed that Trump was not listening to a translation of remarks by Italy’s Paolo Gentiloni because Trump was not wearing headphones. It turned out, however, that Trump was wearing a small earpiece that was not easily visible. Landale was wrong. The error proves, once again, that journalists are fallible. Yet it is telling that Spicer chose to zero in on this particular incident after airing a sweeping complaint about “narratives that are wrong.”

New York Times eliminates its public editor
“The responsibility of the public editor ― to serve as the reader’s representative ― has outgrown that one office,” Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. wrote in a memo to staff. “There is nothing more important to our mission, or our business, than strengthening our connection with our readers. A relationship that fundamental cannot be outsourced to a single intermediary.”

Trump defends Jared Kushner by promoting anonymously sourced Fox News story days after blasting anonymous sources as ‘made up’
The Monday Fox News report that Trump retweeted lays blame on the Russians, rather than Kushner, for discussing the possibility of a communications back channel between the Trump administration and Moscow. The Fox report cited “a source familiar with the matter.”


East Timor court drops premier’s libel case against media
An East Timor court on Thursday dismissed a criminal defamation case brought by the country’s prime minister against two journalists due to lack of evidence. Rights groups and press advocates had urged that the case be dropped, fearing it would further undermine press freedom in one of the world’s youngest democracies.

Demonstrators In Tbilisi Protest Azerbaijani Journalist’s Alleged Abduction
Dozens of people demonstrated in the Georgian capital on May 31, protesting the alleged abduction and forcible return of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Afqan Muxtarli to Baku. Muxtarli and his wife fled to Georgia in 2015, fearing for their safety over his investigations into Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s alleged links to corruption. Muxtarli went missing on May 29.

Outspoken Chinese law professor, government critic, silenced
He Weifang told The Associated Press Friday that he would no longer publish on social media after authorities repeatedly shut down his personal blog, his Weibo microblog and two WeChat accounts. He, a famed law professor and key defender of imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, is the latest public intellectual to throw in the towel in President Xi Jinping’s China. Over the past half-decade, freedom of speech and other civil liberties have been rolled back while a radical movement devoted to the People’s Republic’s authoritarian founder Mao Zedong has flourished.

Kenya: ‘Not Worth the Risk’: Threats to Free Expression Ahead of Kenya’s 2017 Elections
An independent media is crucial for Kenya’s ability to hold free and fair elections. But rather than protecting free expression and media rights – guaranteed by Kenya’s Constitution and international human rights law – Kenyan officials have responded to critical press coverage with harassment, threats, criminal charges, withholding of advertising revenue and even violence against journalists and media outlets.

Venezuela increases internet censorship and surveillance in crisis
The country is currently in a state of emergency after two months of anti-government protests that have caused the deaths of over 50 people and led to violent confrontations with the police. Citizens are furious with president Nicolás Maduro, who has been using emergency powers since 2015 to pass laws without congressional approval. As that anger has translated into protests, the government has responded by trying to shut it down.

Deeper Analysis

The ‘fake news’ trope is making it harder to fight state-sanctioned violence in Asia
In a region full of young democracies, journalists and press freedom advocates are alarmed by politicians’ eager uptake of memes spawned by the Trump election and presidency in response to human rights allegations. “What Trump is doing in the U.S. is enabling and empowering authoritarians all over the world,” said Karin Karlekar, director of PEN America’s Free Expression at Risk Programs. “The ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ rhetoric is particularly disturbing because it’s not just attacking the press, but aims to delegitimize journalism.”

With Trump’s attack on the press, American democracy approaches a critical moment
A Republican congressional candidate allegedly assaults a journalist — and gets away with it. Security guards at the Federal Communications Commission rough up a reporter who tries to question an official. Someone fires shots at a newspaper office in Kentucky. The enabler in chief in all these cases none other than the president himself, who has repeatedly railed at journalists — at one point resorting to the Stalinist expression “the enemy of the people” — simply for doing their jobs.

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