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Government lawyers representing President Trump argue he can block his critics on Twitter without violating the First Amendment, countering a lawsuit contending his account amounts to an official forum. The hashtag #MeToo floods social media as women express the commonplaceness of sexual assault and harassment. The Trump administration’s appointee as head of the Federal Communications Commission comes under pressure to end silence over the president’s threats against TV networks that criticize him. The revamped New York Times social media policy is released and debated. “House of Cards’’ reported to have been required viewing for Russian trolls crafting divisive social media messages intended to turn Americans against their government during the 2016 election. As the NFL leadership meets this week to consider players’ protests during the national anthem, read PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel’s Washington Post op-ed on the First Amendment context the team owners need to understand. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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

U.S.

Trump’s lawyers: Courts have no say over his Twitter feed
“The President uses the account for his speech, not as a forum for the private speech of others,” the lawyers wrote. “And his decision to block certain users allows him to choose the information he consumes and the individuals with whom he interacts.”
ASSOCIATED PRESS

#MeToo Floods Social Media With Stories of Harassment and Assault
The messages bearing witness began appearing frequently on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Sunday, when the actress Alyssa Milano posted a screenshot on outlining the idea and writing “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
NEW YORK TIMES

FCC commissioner on Trump’s media threats: ‘History won’t be kind to silence’
After Trump’s comments last week, many expected Trump-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai to reject the notion that the agency would deny licenses to fulfill a political vendetta. But Pai has yet to speak publicly on the issue.
CNN

The Times’ new policy to hide reporters’ bias
In a memo Friday, the paper laid out new social-media guidelines for employees. Journalists are no longer allowed to “express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’s journalistic reputation.”
NEW YORK POST

Russian trolls were schooled on ‘House of Cards’
A central theme of the troll factory messaging was demonizing Hillary Clinton by playing up the past scandals of her husband’s administration, her wealth and her use of a private email server, according to the interview with the agency worker, identified only as “Maksim,” with his face concealed.
YAHOO

NFL owners need to play defense to protect free speech
The threat to free-speech rights from the White House is unmistakable. If NFL owners do as the president asks, no matter what justification they give, the bedrock principle that the government cannot abridge the free-speech rights of individuals will have been breached.
WASHINGTON POST

 
Global

If Russia can create fake ‘Black Lives Matter’ accounts, who will next?
It doesn’t cost much, it doesn’t take much time, it isn’t particularly high-tech, and it requires no special equipment. Facebook, Google and Twitter, not Russia, have provided the technology to create fake accounts and false advertisements, as well as the technology to direct them at particular parts of the population.
WASHINGTON POST

Investigative Journalist Beaten In Kosovo
Insajderi reported that a suspect named Faton Ramadani had been detained by police and said the attack was retaliation for the website’s reporting on lawmaker Milaim Zeka.
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY

‘Highly concentrated’ media ownership sees Ireland slip down press freedom rankings
A study from Reporters Without Borders states that the nature of ownership at Independent News and Media (INM), the country’s defamation laws, and the lack of press access to the Irish police force are to blame for the country’s drop in rank.
THE JOURNAL

Heard the One About Asia’s Comedy Scene? First, You’ll Need a Permit
The Chinese government requires comedian, Storm Xu, to submit scripts in advance of his commercial performances—that gets him a permit to tell jokes. He also has to provide video of someone reading the comedy lines aloud. Government censors have told him to remove jokes not for political content, but for being too rude.
NEW YORK TIMES

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