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Fake website for Biden campaign, operated by Trump consultant, attracts more views than real Biden campaign website. (See PEN America’s report on fraudulent news in the 2018 midterm elections and the normalization of disinformation as a campaign tactic.) New U.S. press secretary pushes for press access during the President’s visit to North Korea. Youngstown daily newspaper will close after 150 years, leaving hundreds of thousands of Ohio residents without a daily newspaper. San Francisco school board votes to paint over George Washington mural depicting a slain Native American man and an enslaved African American person, saying the mural doesn’t reflect the school’s values. PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud workshop participants launch anthology of their written works. (Find out more about the program, and purchase your copy here.) -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Trump Consultant Is Trolling Democrats With Biden Site That Isn’t Biden’s
For much of the last three months, the most popular Joseph R. Biden Jr. website has been a slick little piece of disinformation that is designed to look like the former vice president’s official campaign page, yet is most definitely not pro-Biden.

Trump Press Secretary Fights for Media in Land of Real ‘Fake News’
Stephanie Grisham is succeeding Sanders as press secretary, and she used a contentious moment during President Trump’s Sunday visit to North Korea to bring some balance back to the job. “Go, go!” Grisham shouted to members of the U.S. media as she jostled with a man apparently bent on blocking access to the reporters.

The Vindicator, Youngstown’s Daily Newspaper, Will Close after 150 Years
The Vindicator, which recently marked its 150th publication anniversary and is Youngstown’s only daily newspaper, will close. “I can’t explain how difficult it is to see this happen, but I understand given the conditions of the newspaper industry,” said reporter Kalea Hall. “I beg people to support local journalism.”

San Francisco School Board Votes to Paint over Mural of George Washington’s Life
The San Francisco Board of Education voted to paint over a mural depicting scenes in the life of George Washington—which shows Washington standing over a dead Native American man and also an image of an enslaved African American person—at a high school bearing his name, saying the mural doesn’t represent the school’s values.

Activist Held in U.S. after Reciting Poem Attacking Immigration Rules
Rosa Lopez, a policy advocate and organizer at ACLU’s southern California branch, said Jose Bello is “a beloved young activist with many allies and supporters. … His poem spoke out against the administration’s cruel and inhumane immigration policies, and he is being persecuted for it.”


Russia’s Funeral Business Is a Killer. The Reporter Who Exposed It Thinks It Got Him Arrested.
As an investigative journalist with Meduza, one of the few independent Russian-language news outlets, Ivan Golunov has spent years reporting on corruption by the wealthy and well-connected around Russia. But his editors think his latest story is what ultimately landed him in jail, just two hours after he’d filed it.

This Trump Critic’s Cartoon Went Viral on Social Media. Within Hours, He No Longer Had a Contract.
Within hours after an anti-Trump cartoon proved popular on social media, its creator, Michael de Adder, was released from his freelance contract with Canada’s Brunswick News company. The company said the cancellation was not because of the cartoon.

Hong Kong’s Protests Are a Personal Challenge to Strongman Xi Jinping
Probably to Beijing’s surprise, the protests over a proposed extradition law have continued despite an unusual, albeit partial government climb down. That points to deeper grievances about Beijing’s slow-burn attempts to curb Hong Kong’s freedoms.

China’s LGBTQ Artists Persevere as Censors’ Grip Tightens
“In China, an officially atheist country under the ruling Communist Party, religion doesn’t play much of a role. But government censors nonetheless appear vehemently opposed to the public dissemination of LGBTQ-related content, which has a disproportionate impact on Chinese queer filmmakers.”

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