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PEN America sues Trump over freedom of speech

In the US, literary and human rights organisation PEN America is suing President Trump for alleged violations of America’s First Amendment (which protects freedom of speech), reports the Associated Press.

PEN America, which represents thousands of authors and journalists, filed a suit in federal court in New York against President Trump, in which it alleges that ‘official acts’ by Trump have ‘violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution’.

In an open letter, the group’s president and novelist Jennifer Egan and CEO Suzanne Nossel write that the suit ‘seeks to stop President Trump from using the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes’, and notes that the president has ‘also threatened book publishers and authors who have published critical volumes’.

While the letter notes that ‘most of the president’s verbal attacks on the press are speech that is protected under the First Amendment’, PEN cites four specific examples of alleged First Amendment violations by Trump, including disrupting a proposed merger of AT&T and CNN, and directing the US postal service to double its shipping rates—a move that would affect Amazon. The suit also notes that Trump has been unhappy with coverage by the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

‘President Trump has First Amendment rights and is free to criticise the press vehemently, but he is not free to use the power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it,’ says the suit.

Read the full complaint here.



Category: International news