Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro was told that she would be receiving a "Woman of Courage" award for her journalism...until she tweeted something critical of Donald Trump
April 12, 2019

First amendment? What's that?

Jessikka Aro, a Finnish investigative journalist, who has been doing work on Russian troll farms since before the 2016 election, was to be awarded a "Women of Courage" honor by the US State Department for her work exposing how GRU has infiltrated elections and politics worldwide.

In exchange for her troubles, she's been doxxed, harassed, and threatened by trolls and presumably Russian agents.

What Ms. Aro exposed in St. Petersburg was ground zero for the Russian mischief campaign against the 2016 presidential election, according to an indictment subsequently returned in the United States. The troll factory was funded by one of President Vladimir Putin’s cronies, Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin.

For her journalism, Ms. Aro was informed in January by the State Department that she was to be one of the winners of this year’s International Women of Courage Award, presented Thursday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and first lady Melania Trump. The award has been given since 2007 to women around the world who have “demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.” Ms. Aro got a formal invitation from the State Department on Feb. 12, and a tour around the United States was envisioned.

But the tour never happened. Aro got a message from the State Department that her invitation was just a "regrettable error." and the award ceremony went on without her.

But according to Foreign Policy, who broke the story, the reason that Aro's invitation and award was rescinded was because Aro had tweeted something critical of Donald Trump.

After Trump tweeted this, five days after her invitation:

She responded with this:

And whoosh went her invitation, five days later.

That's it. That's what the terribly thin skin of the White House occupant took umbrage to. HuffPost:

[Aro] told Foreign Policy last month: “I use Twitter to exchange ideas and share information freely. I find the idea of U.S. government officials stalking my Twitter and politicizing my perfectly normal expressions of opinion deeply disturbing.”

Aro’s communication with the State Department has been obtained by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They’ve called for an investigation by the State Department’s inspector general.

“If the department rescinded the award because of statements made by a journalist, exercising her right to freedom of speech, it would mean that the department is using political fealty to the president as an eligibility criteria for receiving a government award designed to highlight courage,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the committee’s ranking Democrat.

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