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DARE: Judge in Libel Suit Rules BuzzFeed May have Protection for Report on Trump Dossier

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BuzzFeed scores legal victory over dossier alleging Trump’s ties to Russia. Trump disinvites Philadelphia Eagles after players said they would skip the national anthem ceremony in protest. Justice Department appeals ruling that Trump can block Twitter followers. More than 50 writers, artists, journalists, and activists have signed a letter calling on President Putin to free Oleg Sentsov who is on hunger strike. Baker who refused service to gay wedding claims he doesn’t “discriminate” but he also doesn’t have to create a cake “for every message”. -PEN America

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


Judge in Libel Suit Rules BuzzFeed May have Protection for Report on Trump Dossier
BuzzFeed scored a significant legal victory on Monday with a judge’s ruling that the online outlet appears to have legal protection for its decision to publish the so-called dossier about President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

Trump Disinvites Philadelphia Eagles from White House Visit, Citing National Anthem Dispute
President Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a planned White House celebration of the team’s Super Bowl championship, opening a new salvo in his culture war over NFL players standing for the national anthem.

White House Appeals Ruling that President Can’t Block Twitter Followers
Judge Buchwald said that the president’s account is a “public forum” and that blocking users is a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee, but also ruled that Trump could “mute” users he wished to ignore.

Baker Who Refused to Make Cake for Gay Wedding: ‘I Don’t Discriminate’
After a 7-2 decision where the high court said legal proceedings in Colorado had shown a hostility to the baker’s religious views, bakery owner Jack Phillips maintains he doesn’t “discriminate” but that he also wouldn’t “create cakes for every message”.

Only Western Pressure Can Save Oleg Sentsov
“The Russian authorities are not interested in the opinion of Russian citizens. But if Western media talk about Sentsov, perhaps it will be uncomfortable for them. Perhaps international pressure will compel them to release him.”


Dozens of Artists Call for Ukrainian Dissident’s Release *PEN Case List
In a letter through PEN America, artists called on Putin to free Sentsov. He is serving a 20-year term and has been on a hunger strike for three weeks, demanding the release of 64 Ukrainian political prisoners. Sentsov is not calling for his own release.

Ukrainian President Defends Faking Journalist’s Murder
Ukrainian President Petro Porochenko defended staging the killing of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko to foil what Kiev said was an assassination plot by Moscow, saying in an interview that it was needed to “protect freedom of the press”.

Zambia Needs to Allow Freedom of Expression, Says Fr. Kaseba
St Lawrence’s Catholic Parish priest Fr. Albert Kaseba says Zambia needs to reach a stage of political maturity where freedom of expression should be allowed, promoted, and citizens let to choose what they want.

Tiananmen Square: Australian Artist Leads #Tankmen2018 Global Protest to Remember 1989 Massacre
The Tiananmen massacre was the Chinese government’s violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in 1989. The “Tankman”, the man who challenged 18 tanks, became one of the most symbolic images of the 20th century.

Vietnam Upholds Sentence for Prominent Human Rights Activists
A Vietnamese court upheld prison sentences against four human rights campaigners convicted of attempting to overthrow the state. “The sentences given to them are too heavy given that their activities haven’t left any adverse impacts on the society.”

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. Send your feedback and story suggestions to DARE@pen.org

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