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Conservative allies to Trump administration target journalists in a campaign to discredit those associated with news coverage critical of the White House and the president. (See PEN America’s lawsuit defending reporters from the president’s on-going retaliation and censorship, and our statement today). More than half of social media sign-in attempts are by scammers or bots, and nearly a fourth of new social media accounts are linked to misinformation takeovers. (See PEN America’s recent report on the spread of fraudulent news online.) West Virginia governor calls local newspaper “garbage” after it exposes governor’s conflict of interest. Professor at Iowa’s Kirkwood Community College who expressed anti-fascist views on social media will not be teaching this year due to safety concerns. (See PEN America’s recent report on free speech on college campuses). –Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House
As part of President Trump’s ongoing aggressive behavior toward critical journalists, a network of conservative operatives have amassed dossiers on journalists, employees of major media outlets, and their families with the intent to embarrass and discredit them.

More than half of all login attempts on social media are scammers
As social media platforms work to crack down on fake and bot accounts notorious for their role in misinformation campaigns, bad actors turn to hacking hoping to use real social accounts to spread misinformation and scams.

West Virginia governor calls newspaper ‘garbage’
Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Ken Ward, Jr. discusses his story on West Virginia governor Jim Justice’s conflicts of interest and Justice’s angry response to the reporting. “President Trump has kind of elevated this and is allowing this sort of anti-press rhetoric to trickle down and embolden people like Governor Justice,” Ward says.

Pro-Antifa Professor Out in Iowa
Kirkwood Community College announces that a professor sympathetic to Antifa and critical of evangelical Christians won’t be teaching this year due to safety concerns.


Mexican Journalist Found Dead at Home, Twelfth Killed This Year
Mexican reporter Nevith Condes Jaramillo has been found dead in his home, making him the twelfth journalist killed in the country this year, according to Mexico’s human rights watchdog. Jaramillo died as result of being stabbed several times.

Europe Criticized for Not Pressing Malta over Journalist’s Killing
EU countries have not done enough to press Malta into holding an independent probe into the 2017 killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia who was investigating high level corruption on the island state, the journalist’s family has claimed.

Reporter Traveling with Zarif Said to Be Seeking Political Asylum in Europe
Amir Tohid Fazel, a reporter who accompanied Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif during his European tour, has stayed behind and is seeking political asylum either in Sweden or Norway. Reformist journalists in Tehran have begun to criticize Zarif for giving opportunities to hardline journalists he usually does’t give to reformist reporters.

Family Urge Investigation of Journalist Slain in South Sudan
Lawyers for the family of slain American-British journalist Christopher Allen are urging South Sudan’s government to investigate his death as a potential war crime. Allen died on August 26, 2017, during an opposition-led offensive in the town of Kaya along the Ugandan border while embedded with the rebels.

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