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As the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia makes public its first charges – against the former head of the campaign and his associate – the president and his media allies have sown a change-the-topic narrative focused on Hillary Clinton. Trump ally Roger Stone is kicked off Twitter after expletive-filled attacks on political commentators. More than 500 female writers, artists, curators, and directors sign an open letter pledging to fight sexual harassment and sexism in the art world and condemning a prominent art publisher. A Mississippi school district returns “To Kill A Mockingbird” to eighth-graders’ classrooms, if parents sign permission slips. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Dread hangs over Washington as Manafort, Gates turn themselves in
Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have been indicted by a federal grand jury. To deflect, the White House is torching a familiar foe, Clinton, highlighting an Obama-era sale of a uranium firm to Russian investors. Trump claims this shows that Clinton, not him, should be investigated for colluding with Russia to influence the election.

Roger Stone Has Been Permanently Banned From Twitter
Twitter took action on Saturday, after Stone spent Friday night tapping out obscenity-filled rants against news anchor Don Lemon, among other commentators and CNN personalities. The tirade appeared to have been triggered by Lemon tweeting CNN’s scoop that the first charges had been filed in the Mueller investigation.

Female Artists Sign Letter Against Sexual Harassment
The open letter calls on art institutions to remove offenders and confront inequality and abuse. “Your actions will no longer be a secret, whispered amongst us for fear of ostracization, professional shunning, and recrimination. Where we see the abuse of power, we resolve to speak out.”

Biloxi to teach ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ in class again. Parents must sign permission slip.
The principal has told parents that the students will write an argumentative essay and discuss comparisons of characters and events between the book and the 1960s film. Students who don’t want to read “To Kill A Mockingbird” will be given another assignment that keeps them on track for class and state assessments.


Chhattisgarh: Journalist Vinod Verma held for extortion sent to police custody
Verma again claimed his innocence saying his arrest was a result of a conspiracy and that no CDs were found from his residence. Verma’s counsel said his client alleged that he was tortured by the police along the way and that they kept moving him from one place to another till late on Saturday night.

Myanmar to charge journalists on assignment for Turkish state TV: officials
Journalists-Lau Hon Meng from Singapore and Mok Choy Lin from Malaysia-plus their interpreter Aung Naing Soe and driver Hla Tin have been detained since Friday for flying a drone near the parliament in Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw. The development comes amid tension between Turkey and Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis.

Outspoken Pakistani Journalist Ahmad Noorani Attacked
No one has claimed the responsibility of the attack which seems to be an effort to silence the media which is critical of several powerful elements in the country. Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the attack and said that “attacks on journalists are unacceptable.”

France arrests brother of ex-Burkina president Compaore
The murder of Norbert Zongo, who published Burkina Faso’s Independent newspaper, became a symbol of repression during Compaore’s rule, which ended at the hands of a popular uprising. Before his death, Zongo had been investigating the murder of a driver who worked for Francois Compaore. His killing triggered violent protests.

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