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President Trump says he told White House press secretary ‘not to bother’ with press briefings, a forum for the public to see journalists question the administration that has become increasingly rare. The Supreme Court grants Trump administration ability to bar most transgender people from military service while legal challenges move through the courts. Four young men arrested and arsenal of weapons uncovered in alleged plot to attack a Muslim enclave in rural New York that has been target of online conspiracy theories among right-wing groups. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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

U.S.

White House Sets Record for Longest Span with No Press Briefings
The Trump White House has not only lapsed its own personal record for the span of time with no press briefings: It has also surpassed the all-time record for time with no on-camera briefings since they began during the Clinton administration.
ABC NEWS

Supreme Court Revives Trump’s Ban on Transgender Military Personnel, for Now
The Supreme Court has reinstated President Trump’s order placing restrictions on transgender persons enlisting and serving in the military, by granting a stay of two lower court injunctions that had blocked the president’s policy.
NPR

4 Arrested and 23 Guns Seized in Plot against Muslim Enclave in Upstate N.Y.
Over the past several years, Islamberg has been attacked by anti-Muslim groups and some right-wing conspiracy theorists, who have said that the town is actually a terrorist training camp despite its peaceful history.
NEW YORK TIMES

The Trump-Era Overcorrection
“It is an understandable impulse to want to repair a relationship with an estranged audience—news is about informing the public, and you can’t inform the public if a large segment of it doesn’t trust you. But the only goal that really matters is getting it right.”
THE ATLANTIC

 
Global

Chinese-Australian Writer Yang Hengjun Disappears in China
Yang Hengjun, a well-known writer and former Chinese official with Australian citizenship, flew from New York to China despite warnings from friends who told him it was too dangerous. Now, he is missing and appears to have been detained.
NEW YORK TIMES
*Read PEN America’s statement on Hengjun’s disappearance

Hong Kong Moves to Criminalize ‘Insulting’ China’s National Anthem
Lawmakers began discussing the legislation which sets standards for playing and singing “March of the Volunteers,” and makes it a crime punishable by up to three years in prison “to insult the national anthem.”
CNN

What It’s like to Be Imprisoned on False News Charges
Akumbom Elvis McCarthy shared food, water, and a toilet with about 30 other prisoners. He slept on the floor. He made a pillow out of plastic water bottles. “I still suffer from a toothache that was [beaten] by a security officer while I was in a police cell. No one was allowed to visit me,” he said.
POYNTER

Opinion: Social Media Is Rotting Democracy from within
“Authoritarians … benefit from spreading falsehoods about their opponents, ginning up panics about minority groups, and undermining people’s trust in the independent media. Both the 2016 U.S. election and the 2018 Brazilian vote proved social media is a perfect tool for this kind of activity.”
VOX

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