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Supporter at a Trump rally in El Paso, Texas, attacks BBC cameraman Ron Skeans. (See PEN America’s statement.) Reports show that hedge fund and Digital Media First owner Alden Global Capital’s record on newspaper ownership is marked by funding cuts, job losses, and selling papers’ offices and printing plants. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) apologizes for comments made about U.S. support for Israel after widespread condemnation by the Democratic leadership. Former White House aide and author of the tell-all ‘Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House’ Cliff Sims sues President Trump, seeking an injunction against the nondisclosure agreement he was asked to sign when working at the White House. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Trump Supporter Attacks BBC Cameraman at El Paso Rally
Sporting a Make America Great Again cap, the man shoved and swore at the BBC’s Ron Skeans and other news crews before being pulled away.

A Hedge Fund’s ‘Mercenary’ Strategy: Buy Newspapers, Slash Jobs, Sell the Buildings
Twenty Lake Holdings is not just another commercial real estate investor. It is a subsidiary of Alden Global Capital, the New York City hedge fund that backed the purchase of and dramatic cost-cutting at more than 100 newspapers—causing more than 1,000 lost jobs.

Ilhan Omar Apologizes for Statements Condemned as Anti-Semitic
Representative Ilhan Omar apologized for insinuating that American support for Israel is fueled by money from a pro-Israel lobbying group—a comment that drew swift and unqualified condemnation from fellow Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi.

Ex-White House Aide Cliff Sims Sues Trump over Nondisclosure Agreements
The lawsuit requests a court ruling that Trump “may not enforce, whether directly or through non-U.S. Government cutouts, any nondisclosure agreements that seek to unconstitutionally infringe upon his First Amendment rights.”

‘Fortnite’ Publisher Urges Dismissal of Rapper’s Suit: ‘No One Can Own a Dance Step’
A flurry of lawsuits over allegedly wiped dance routines in the blockbuster game “Fortnite” generated a lot of discussion about intellectual property. Developer Epic Games said rapper 2 Milly’s moves are unprotectable, aren’t similar to what’s actually in the game, and his lawsuit represents an attempt to chill free speech.


Russia to Disconnect Its Internet from Rest of the World—Temporarily
Providers are planning to temporarily cut the Russian internet off from the world wide web amid attempts to increase government control of information flows.

Flash Mob in Support of Oleg Sentsov Held at Berlinale *PEN Case List: Learn More
Before the premiere, the creative team behind “Mr. Jones” organized a flash mob on the festival’s red carpet, holding the posters “FreeSentsov” and “Freedom of speech is not a crime,” and portraits of Sentsov. Ukrainian activists joined the flash mob.

Ligue Du LOL: Secret Group of French Journalists Targeted Women
The largely-male Ligue du LOL (League of LOL) mocked women, including other journalists, with rape jokes and photoshopped pornographic images.

Indonesia Artists Slam Bill Banning ‘Negative’ Foreign Influences
Since its unveiling last week, the bill has faced a backlash on social media, while an online petition calling for its scrapping has attracted almost 270,000 signatures. Concerned musicians said the draft legislation was opaque and could be abused to silence political discourse and curb freedom of speech.

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