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The FBI is reportedly monitoring groups on the border that protest U.S. immigration policy; that’s raised concerns the government is erroneously equating opposition with extremism. A federal judge rules that a government database of “known or suspected terrorists” violates the rights of American citizens on the list. A college in Mississippi faces a lawsuit after blocking students from polling the campus about recreational marijuana use. The Christian Science Monitor asks: Will personal probes into journalists’ old comments undermine the press? — James Tager, Deputy Director of Free Expression Policy and Research

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


Document Reveals the FBI Is Tracking Border Protest Groups as Extremist Organizations
Yahoo News reports the FBI is monitoring border groups protesting U.S. immigration policy. This comes after revelations that the Customs and Border Protection agency has been tracking journalists, activists, and others on the border through a government database. Read PEN America’s statement on the database, which we believe represents “a shocking and unwarranted intrusion on privacy and press freedom.”

Judge Rules Government’s Terrorism Watchlist Violates Constitutional Rights
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the government’s terrorist watchlist—which has over 1 million names and includes about 4,600 American citizens—poses too great a risk to Americans’ constitutional liberties. The judge has asked both the Justice Department and the lawyer for the plaintiffs to submit their views on how this watchlist could be fixed.

Student in Mississippi Sues College After Being Barred from Polling Fellow Students about Marijuana
An advocacy group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former student of Jones College, arguing that the state college’s policies infringed upon his First Amendment rights. The suit alleges the school overstepped when it blocked students from polling others on campus about legalizing marijuana.

Will Conservative Group’s Investigation of Journalists’ Personal Social Media History Undermine Media?
The Christian Science Monitor examines how conservatives are examining the social media history of journalists in the mainstream media, and asks if these efforts represent a win for accountability or simply an intimidation tactic. Read PEN America’s statement urging the president to call for an immediate end to a campaign of menacing journalists.


Cameroonian Rapper and Activist May Face Death Penalty 
Gaston Serval Abe, known as Valsero, was arrested earlier this year near a pro-democracy demonstration. He’s been charged with rebellion against the state and will appear in a military court tomorrow and could eventually face the death penalty. PEN America says his detention is an “inexcusable violation” of his free expression.

Opinion: The Challenges Of Being A Foreign Reporter In China
In this personal account, NPR’s international correspondent Frank Langfitt describes his experience covering China for NPR and The Baltimore Sun over the course of 10 years — he says harassment of international press has grown much worse. 

Uganda Expands Its Internet Clampdown, Stifling the Last Space for Free Speech
In August, the Uganda Communications Commission announced that social media “influencers” must pay a fee and register to be monitored by the state regulator as Ugandans are using the internet to protest the Ugandan president’s 33-year-long regime. A commission claims that increased regulation will prevent immoral content and hate speech, but critics see it as another blow to freedom of expression. 

DARE is a project of PEN America’s #LouderTogether campaign, bringing you a daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. An article’s inclusion does not imply endorsement by PEN America. We welcome your comments. Send your feedback and story suggestions to DARE@pen.org