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At the Golden Globes in Hollywood, Oprah Winfrey affirms the value of a free press, of women speaking truth to power, and of diversity in storytellers. PEN America and PEN USA, based in Los Angeles, announce plan to join forces, unifying writers and their allies coast to coast to bolster the defense of free expression in the face of increasingly potent threats. (Read the statement here.) Google, Netflix, and other tech giants announce they will join the legal fight against the Federal Communications Commission over its repeal of net neutrality rules. Facebook suggests willingness to start sharing data on whether efforts to stop the spread of fraudulent news are working. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Oprah Defends Free Press in Powerful Golden Globes Speech
Honored with the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement, Oprah Winfrey delivered an electrifying, eloquent, and unforgettable acceptance speech in which she defended the free press and fiercely called out sexual harassers all across the globe—telling them “their time has come.”

New York and LA Chapters of PEN to Merge
“As a unified organization with strong tent poles on both coasts and a diverse, growing community of writers and readers all across the country, we can speak out more forcefully, mobilize a wider creative community and mount a more forceful effort to defend free expression,” Executive Director Suzanne Nossel said.

Big Tech to Join Legal Fight Against Net Neutrality Repeal
Facebook, Google, Netflix and other large tech firms announced that they will put their reputations and financial clout behind the challenge to the FCC’s ruling. Lawsuits seeking to block the new policy are expected in the weeks ahead, once new rules allowing providers to block content or charge for faster internet service take effect.

Is Facebook Preparing to Open Up on Fake News?
The company has invited representatives from its fact-checking partners to discuss what information could finally be shared. The meeting could help thaw what has been, at times, a tense relationship with the fact-checking groups it began enlisting shortly after the 2016 election to sweep the platform for misinformation.

Cellphone and Computer Searches at U.S. Border Rise Under Trump
Privacy activists and those who have been detained at the border say the examination of their devices are invasive and violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. Privacy and immigration advocates see the increase in searches as part of the administration’s overall immigration agenda.


Beijing Bets on Facial Recognition in a Big Drive for Total Surveillance
A goal of this new nationwide surveillance and data-sharing platform: to track where people are, what they are up to, what they believe and who they associate with—and ultimately even to assign them a single “social credit” score based on whether the government and their fellow citizens consider them trustworthy.

Reporter Who Exposed India Data Breach Named in Criminal Complaint
Journalist Rachna Khaira’s investigation claimed that access to a database containing citizen’s personal records was being sold on WhatsApp groups for about 500 rupees. Senior Indian journalists and national press associations criticised the complaint against Khaira as “unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.”

German Opposition Parties Call to Replace Online Hate Speech Law
Senior figures in the rival Free Democratic (FDP), Green and Left parties have demanded lawmakers replace Germany’s recently passed online hate speech law. The call comes after Twitter decided to delete allegedly offensive statements by far-right politicians and suspend the account of a German satirical magazine.

Watchdog Group Calls on Saudi Arabia to Release Local Journalist
Saudi activists and media reported that Saleh al-Shehi, a columnist for Arabic-language daily al-Watan, was detained on Wednesday over various articles and television appearances, including one in which he accused the royal court of corruption in distributing land.

Charlie Hebdo’s Neighbours Debate Free Speech Three Years After Attack
As France prepares to mark the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the defacement of commemorative graffiti is a sign that the “Je suis Charlie” spirit has diminished since the January 11, 2015 demonstrations where millions of people took to the streets across the country to support 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. Send your feedback and story suggestions to DARE@pen.org