LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards. Christie Hefner established the Awards in 1979 in conjunction with Playboy magazine’s 25th anniversary to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans in the fields of journalism, government, book publishing and education. A press reception with the winners, judges and special presenters will be held on May 22, 2013, at the Playboy Mansion, where winners will receive a cash award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed to Norman Lear for his unwavering defense of the fundamental values laid out in the Bill of Rights, and his commitment to nurturing a new generation of young leaders fighting for the American Way. Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film and as a political and social activist and philanthropist. Concerned about the growing influence of radical religious evangelists, Lear formed People for the American Way, a nonprofit organization designed to speak out for Bill of Rights guarantees and to monitor violations of constitutional freedoms.
Additional Award winners, many of whom are unsung heroes, come from various walks of life and include Jessica Ahlquist, a Rhode Island high school student, who is being honored with a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in the Education category for her courageous and successful lawsuit over a prayer banner in her high school, a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Four distinguished journalists who responded to the urgent need for cutting-edge transparency journalism to create the Freedom of the Press Foundation to support those organizations and individuals that publish leaks in the public interest. The following four share an award in the Journalism category:
John Perry Barlow, cofounder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a former Wyoming cattle rancher who also wrote songs for the Grateful Dead. His 1993 Wired essay, "The Economy of Ideas," was the first announcement that the music industry (as we then knew it) was doomed. He is currently working on turning sewage into jet fuel.
Daniel Ellsberg is a cofounder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is best known as the whistleblower who released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971. He receives a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for his indefatigable defense of a free and uncensored press and creating an organization to promote and fund aggressive public-interest journalism.
Rainey Reitman is a cofounder and chief operating officer of Freedom of the Press Foundation. She's also a founder and steering committee member for the Bradley Manning Support Network, a network of individuals and organizations advocating for the release of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning. She serves on the board of the directors for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, a nonprofit whose mission is to organize and support an effective, national grassroots movement to restore civil liberties, and on the steering committee for the Internet Defense League, which organizes Internet users to combat imminent threats to online rights.
Trevor Timm is the cofounder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which supports and funds independent journalism organizations dedicated to transparency and accountability in government. Since 2011, he has also been an activist and writer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He has contributed to The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The New Inquiry, Al-Jazeera and Harvard Law and Policy Review.
Colonel Morris Davis, former Assistant Director and Senior Specialist in National Security, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, who despite great risks expressed his personal views on the Guantanamo Military Commissions, a matter of intense public interest and debate, thus inspiring others to speak out. He is receiving an award in the Government category.
A former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007, he resigned over political interference in the trials by the Bush administration and pressure to use evidence obtained by torture. He retired from the Air Force as a Colonel in 2008 before taking the position of senior specialist in national security and head of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division at the Congressional Research Service from 2008 to 2010, when he was fired for writing opinion pieces critical of the Obama administration’s Guantanamo policies for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. He currently is an assistant professor at the Howard University School of Law.
Marjorie Heins is a civil liberties lawyer, author and teacher. She is being honored for her book Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge, a chronicle of the history, law and personal stories behind the struggle to recognize academic freedom as "a special concern of the First Amendment." Marjorie is the founding director of the Free Expression Policy Project (www.fepproject.org). From 1991-98, she directed the American Civil Liberties Union’s Arts Censorship Project, where she was co-counsel in several major First Amendment cases, including Reno v. ACLU (invalidating a law that criminalized “indecent” communications on the Internet). She has been a fellow at the NYU Frederic Ewen Academic Freedom Center, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and the Open Society Institute. In 1991-92, she was chief of the Civil Rights Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
This year’s Master of Ceremonies will be Christie Hefner, who has been involved in First Amendment, women’s rights and progressive politics for decades. She served on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union for over twenty years and worked on numerous political campaigns. She was twice a delegate to the Democratic Convention and began working for Barack Obama during his Senate primary race and continued through the Presidential campaign. In 1987, she was given the ACLU of Illinois Harry Kalven Freedom of Expression award. Since leaving Playboy, she has been working with the Center for American Progress, the leading progressive public policy think tank started and run by John Podesta. She is also Executive Chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a new company formed to extend the legendary health resort’s brand and content beyond its properties.
Presenters of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award include: Sekou Andrews, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed spoken word artist, playwright, actor and musician. He has mastered the art of creating original, custom-written spoken word pieces that illuminate and transform the audience from simply receivers into energized responders. He has performed for Barack Obama at the request of Oprah Winfrey and for Hilary Clinton at the request of Quincy Jones.
Steve Connell, former Creative Director for Norman Lear’s “Declare Yourself” campaign, is a new breed of presenter: a multi-faceted hybrid, fusing poetry, comedy, motivational speaking, acting and storytelling into a transformative and original experience that has been captivating audiences around the world for the past several years. With his creative partner Sekou, Steve has racked up an impressive list of celebrated appearances at renowned festivals such as PEN World Voices, the Bookworm Literary Festival of China, Amnesty International Human Rights Arts Festival, Sundance Film Festival and HBO’s US Comedy Arts Festival.
Presenter of the 2013 Education Award to Jessica Ahlquist will be Eugenie Scott, Ph.D., a physical anthropologist and former university professor. She is the Executive Director of National Center for Science Education. She has been both a researcher and a leading critic of young earth creationism and intelligent design. Her book, Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction, was published by Greenwood Press in 2004 and then in paperback by the University of California Press in 2005. Dr. Scott is a 1999 Hugh M Hefner First Amendment Award winner.
This year’s judges, who are equally advocates in defense of the First Amendment and will also help present the awards, are: Henry Weinstein, Founding Faculty, with Joint appointments in Literary Journalism and Law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law; Ramona Ripston, who was the Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California from 1972 to 2010; and Dr. Charles C. Haynes, who is director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center.
About the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation
The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation was established to facilitate individual rights in a democratic society. The primary purpose of the foundation is to support organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights and civil liberties with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies.