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President Trump calls for Washington Post reporter to be fired over a misleading tweet about the size of the crowd at a rally in Pensacola (see PEN America statement here.) As the FCC prepares to vote on the future of net neutrality, Internet landscape in various European countries offers a glimpse of a future without firm net neutrality regulations in the United States. ACLU files lawsuit challenging Arizona law prohibiting state contractors from supporting boycotts against Israel. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator

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


Trump Wants Washington Post Reporter Fired Over Misleading Tweet
Reporter Dave Weigel posted a picture of an arena with many empty seats, which he deleted after learning the venue had not yet filled up. Mr. Trump’s broadside was his latest attempt to discredit the news media as biased against him, an effort that has accelerated after recent mistakes by news organizations and individual journalists.

Net Neutrality’s Holes in Europe May Offer Peek at Future in U.S.
For the European Union’s sprawling market of over 500 million citizens, net neutrality rules have mostly helped prevent bad behavior. Even so, telecom operators have tried to take advantage of some of the gray areas in the rules. Many worry that if the U.S. abandons net neutrality, Europe and other countries may follow suit.

ACLU Sues Over Arizona Law Targeting Anti-Israel Boycotts
“The government has no business telling people what causes they can or can’t support,” Kathy Brody, ACLU of Arizona legal director, said in a statement. “The bottom line is that political boycotts are a legitimate form of non-violent protest, and they are protected by the First Amendment.”

UConn Tackling Debate Of Free Speech On Campus In Wake Of ‘OK To Be White’ Event
After a controversial guest speech, President Susan Herbst announced new rules for student events, such as reviewing speakers’ backgrounds, requesting guest lists, and planning for potential disruptions. The university claims these rules are for the safety of students and speakers, not to shut down free speech or cancel divisive programs.

EPA Brazenly Wipes Climate Change Language from Website Despite Widespread Objection
The term “climate change” is disappearing from government websites, despite criticism from environmental groups and scientists who say the deletions are scientific censorship. 15 mentions of the term were deleted on the EPA’s “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Government” subdomain alone.


Eluding Censors, a Magazine Covers Southeast Asia’s Literary Scene
Mekong Review features reviews, essays, poetry, fiction, interviews, and investigative reports about the culture, politics and history of mainland Southeast Asia. Supporters say it is a welcome platform for Southeast Asian writers and scholars of the region, as well as a sharp political voice in countries where speech is perennially threatened.

In Ireland, lawmakers are trying to criminalize sharing fake news
“Section 6 goes much further than the U.S. bills, and reflects an unfortunate tendency amongst Irish backbenchers to reach for the criminal law when they don’t like the internet,” law professor Eoin O’Dell said. The move is an aggressive approach to a problem—and a concept—that has largely confounded Europe in recent months.

Law against defamation still used to stifle free speech in Myanmar, activists warn
106 cases were filed between November 2015 and November 2017 using Article 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Law. According to a study by Free Expression Myanmar, more than half of the cases analyzed were complaints of “powerful people trying to censor or punish” criticism or allegations against them.

Threats to Journalists Expose Bulgarian Media’s Growing Ills
A series of alarming cases has exposed the apparent threats to media freedom in Bulgaria. Over the last decade, the country has dropped from 51st place in the Global Press Freedom ranking in 2007 to 109th in 2017–the lowest position of any European Union member.

Artists call for Turkey to release German journalist Deniz Yucel after 300 days in prison
Accused of producing “terrorist propaganda” and “incitement of the population,” Yucel was detained in Turkey last February and has been held without charge ever since. The severity of the crackdown on Turkish media has been described by some, according to Amnesty International, as the “death of journalism.”

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