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President Trump goes chillingly Orwellian to Veterans of Foreign Wars, saying: “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” VFW later chides members for heckling the press invited to cover the event, reminding that reporters cover issues important to veterans. White House suspends publishing public summaries of the President’s calls with foreign leaders, and also appears to have omitted critical question from video of Trump-Putin press conference after Helsinki meeting. President says FCC, the head of which he appointed, is “unfair” to conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group in stalling its move to greatly expand the reach of its TV station network. US Attorney General mocks universities for “coddling” students. –Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


‘What You’re Seeing… Is Not What’s Happening.’ People Are Comparing This Trump Quote to George Orwellfcc
President Trump drew comparisons to George Orwell’s 1984 in an attack on the media during a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention Tuesday. Trump warned those in the audience against believing what they see in the news. “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” Trump said.

VFW Scolds Members for Heckling the Press During Trump Speech
The Veterans of Foreign Wars said the organization is “disappointed” with members who heckled the press during a speech by President Donald Trump at the 2018 VFW convention and were “happy” to have members of the media at the event. Trump criticized the press, which led to boos and heckling of reporters covering the event.

White House Stops Announcing Calls with Foreign Leaders
The White House has suspended the practice of publishing public summaries of President Donald Trump’s phone calls with world leaders, two sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN, bringing an end to a common exercise from Republican and Democratic administrations.

Trump Bashes FCC Move to Doom Sinclair-Tribune Deal: ‘Disgraceful!’
President Donald Trump on Tuesday night bashed an FCC decision that likely doomed conservative broadcast giant Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media. “So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn’t approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune,” Trump tweeted.

Jeff Sessions Just Accused Colleges of Creating “Sanctimonious, Sensitive, Supercilious Snowflakes”
At a high school leadership conference, attorney General Jeff Sessions warned that colleges and universities are “coddling” young people instead of encouraging them to engage with different viewpoints. In the past, Sessions warned that campuses have become “an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought”.


China Censors Social Media Posts about Vaccine Scandal, Monitor Says, as Tabloid Suggests Issue has been Overblown
President Xi Jinping might have described China’s latest vaccine scandal as “appalling”, but censors are still keeping a close eye on social media users who vent on the subject. On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, the Chinese word for “vaccine” was one of the most restricted on Sunday and Monday.

Haruki Murakami’s New Novel Declared ‘Indecent’ by Hong Kong Censors
The latest novel from Haruki Murakami, Japan’s most celebrated literary export, has fallen foul of censors in Hong Kong, where it was ruled to be indecent by a tribunal and removed from display at a book fair. Chinese-language edition of Murakami’s book had been temporarily classified as “Class II – indecent materials”.

Samir Kassir Square Sets the Stage for Protest Against Freedom Suppression
Activists gathered in Samir Kassir Square, downtown Beirut, Tuesday afternoon to protest the recent crackdown on freedom of speech and wave of investigations against dissidents. Charbel Khoury, one of the activists who was sent to court as a result of a Facebook post two weeks ago.

Facebook has Created a Subsidiary in China, Even Though its Site is Banned in the Country
The US social networking giant has set up a subsidiary in China, according to an official business registration, hinting that it may be ramping up its presence in the restrictive country where its social media sites remain blocked. Facebook’s website remains blocked in China, which strictly censors foreign news outlets, search engines and social media including content from Twitter and Google.

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