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Ukrainian filmmaker and 2017 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write awardee Oleg Sentsov released from Russian prison after more than five years in detention. (See PEN America’s statement celebrating this landmark news). Washington Post editor defends reporters targeted by President Trump following his latest social media attack on members of the press. (Learn more about PEN America’s First Amendment lawsuit against the president for his ongoing retaliation against journalists). Microsoft executives Brad Smith and Carol Anne Browne provide analysis on the need for government regulation of and collaboration with tech companies to combat negative disinformation. (Learn more about PEN America’s upcoming symposium, Digital Disinformation and the Thread to Democracy). Seventy-eight year old environmental activist Maggy Hurchala faces $4 million legal verdict against her for challenging a Florida mining company, a case that is likely to have key First Amendment implications.
Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Washington Post editor fires back after Trump attack on reporters
Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron defended two of the newspaper’s reporters on Saturday after President Trump lashed out at them for critical coverage and threatened to ban them from the White House.

Please Regulate Us: Tech firms need to work together to solve problems—but they need government to take a more active role, as well
Microsoft executives write that it’s unrealistic to expect the pace of technological change to slow. But, they write, it’s not too much to ask that we do more to manage this change. In contrast to prior technological eras—marked by inventions such as the railroad, telephone, automobile, and television—the age of digital technology has progressed for several decades with remarkably little regulation, or even self‑regulation. This hands‑off attitude needs to give way to a more activist approach.

The Florida Activist Is 78. The Legal Judgment Against Her Is $4 Million.
Environmental activists fear that Maggy Hurchalla’s case against a rock-mining company could have First Amendment ramifications. A tangle of secret emails, lawsuits, and a dispute over public lands in Florida has erupted into a debate over free speech.

NWS chief backs forecasters who contradicted Trump
The head of the National Weather Service issued a strong public defense Monday of forecasters who contradicted President Donald Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian posed a threat to Alabama. Director Louis Uccellini said forecasters “did what any office would do to protect the public.”


Ukrainian Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov Released From Russian Prison After More Than 5 Years 
After more than five years of detention and calls from international artists groups and governments, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was freed from a Russian prison this weekend. Sentsov, the 2017 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write honoree, arrived in Kiev Saturday to a jubilant welcome (See PEN America’s full statement celebrating his release). Meanwhile Sentsov also called for the release of additional political prisoners.

‘We’re at War’: A Covert Social Media Campaign Boosts Military Rulers 
Covert influence campaigns have become a favored tool of leaders in countries like China and Russia. In the Middle East, though, those campaigns are being coordinated across borders in an effort to bolster authoritarian rule and douse the kinds of protests that gave rise to the Arab Spring.

Myanmar Court Adds 3 Months to Kachin Youth’s Sentence Over Protest
A demonstrator in Myanmar’s northern Kachin state had three months added to his 15-day sentence for public protesting after he handed the judge a broken scale to underscore his distrust of the country’s justice system.

Why the press struggles to cover the war in Yemen
Coverage of the conflict, which has raged for five years and precipitated one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history, has been sporadic. Local journalists are routinely targeted with smear campaigns run by both sides of the conflict. Foreign reporters say access remains unpredictable and arbitrary.

Brazil paper publishes gay kiss illustration in censorship row
Brazil’s biggest newspaper printed an illustration from a Marvel comic of two men kissing, pushing back against attempts by the mayor of Rio de Janeiro to censor the image. Critics say the attempt to squelch the illustration was reminiscent of the country’s 21-year military dictatorship that’s often praised by Brazil’s current president.

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 [email protected]