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White House argues it is in the “public interest” for Communications Director Bill Shine to skirt ethics rules in order to meet with his former employer, Fox News. Sandy Hook parents trying to rebut conspiracy theories bump up against permissive approach to publishing falsehoods. Trump appears to confirm that White House aides were required to sign non-disclosure agreements. Colleagues rally around female NYU philosophy professor found to have harassed a male graduate student. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer

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


White House: It’s in ‘Public Interest’ for Staff to Skirt Ethics Rules to Meet With Fox News
It is “in the public interest” for the White House’s top communicator to be excused from federal ethics laws so he can meet with Fox News, according to President Donald Trump’s top lawyer.

Fighting Conspiracy Theories, Sandy Hook Parent Is Thwarted by Online Policies
Leonard Pozner has been fighting to erase online conspiracy theories that the death of his 6-year-old son Noah at the Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax. The online policies of WordPress.com, however, have prevented him from removing these conspiracy theories from one the internet’s biggest blogging platforms.

Trump Appears to Admit White House Aides Signed Nondisclosure Agreements
On Monday, President Trump appeared to acknowledge something his aides have declined to confirm for months: that his White House had aides sign nondisclosure agreements.

What Happens to #MeToo When a Feminist Is the Accused?
Avital Ronell, a world-renowned female professor at New York University, was found responsible for sexually harassing a male former graduate student, Nimrod Reitman. Coming in the middle of the #MeToo movement’s reckoning over sexual misconduct, it raised a challenge for feminists, and the response has roiled a corner of academia.


Gui Minhai: Doctors Visit Kidnapped Hong Kong Bookseller in China *PEN Case List
China has allowed a Swedish doctor to examine publisher Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swede who vanished into Chinese custody in January in murky circumstances for the second time.

Western Filmmakers Urge Action to Save Ukraine’s Sentsov *PEN Case List
Britain’s Ken Loach, Canada’s David Cronenberg, and dozens of other filmmakers called on Russia to free Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who has been on hunger strike for nearly three months in a Siberian jail.

China Warns Hong Kong Journalists’ Club After Activist Speech
China warned Hong Kong’s foreign journalists’ club that it risked repercussions after hosting an independence activist’s speech, signaling a potential escalation in the city’s latest battle over political freedoms.

VOA Reporters Freed After Hours-long Detention by Chinese Authorities
Chinese authorities detained a VOA Mandarin Service correspondent and a multimedia journalist working for VOA for at least six hours. The two journalists were arrested as they attempted to interview a retired Chinese professor who was taken away by police during a live television interview with VOA nearly two weeks ago.

How Award-Winning Kenyan Author Yvonne Owuor Was Brutalized by Ruthless Kanjo Askaris
Kenya’s preeminent award winning author, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, was assaulted in an encounter with Nairobi County askaris. The Kenyan writer, who won the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for her story Weight of Whispers, blamed her attack on mistaken identity by the city askaris.

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