LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Hugh M. Hefner (HMH) Foundation is pleased to announce that it is accepting nominations for the HMH First Amendment Awards. Established in 1979 by Christie Hefner, the Awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans.
The Award winners, many of whom are unsung heroes, have traditionally come from the areas of journalism, education, publishing, law, government, and entertainment (motion pictures, television, and theatre).
A press reception with the judges and winners will be held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. in May 2014, to honor the winners and present each with a cash award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque. Nominations will close on February 7, 2014. For nomination forms and a complete list of previous winners and judges click here: http://hmhfoundation.org/site/?page_id=90/
“For decades we have been proud to honor the importance of the First Amendment as it is brought to life in the actions of individuals who support and often fight to preserve and respect these values,” says Christie Hefner, Chairman of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards. “This is our first year bringing the awards to Washington, DC and I couldn’t think of a better location to celebrate the First Amendment and those that fight to protect it.”
The judges, like the winners, are equally advocates in defense of the First Amendment. Judges for the 2014 Awards include:
Shelby Coffey III is the former editor of the Los Angeles Times. Currently a senior fellow of the Freedom Forum and Vice Chairman of the Newseum, Coffey was president of CNN Business News and CNNfn. Prior to that, he served as editor of the Los Angeles Times. Earlier, he held editorial positions with the Dallas Times Herald, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. In 2001, he was named a fellow of the Freedom Forum, where he studied and wrote about media and First Amendment issues.
Laura W. Murphy is in her second tenure as Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, a position she first held from 1993-2005. Since returning, Murphy has maintained strong relationships with leaders in the United States Congress and the Obama Administration to advance the ACLU’s public policy priorities including national security, criminal justice, human rights, privacy, reproductive rights, civil rights and First Amendment issues.
Under Murphy’s direction, the ACLU is currently leading the charge on Capitol Hill to amend the Patriot Act in light of Edward Snowden’s disclosures and close the military prison in Guantanamo Bay. Recently, Murphy was instrumental in the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act (addressing crack cocaine offenses), a law that was the first repeal of a mandatory minimum sentence in 40 years. And in the first abortion rights victory in decades, she worked with retired military officers and Congress to restore federal funding for military abortions in the case of rape and incest.
Murphy has testified more than a dozen times before Congress and is an experienced national spokesperson. She has been a frequent guest on national television and radio news programs, including PBS, “NBC Nightly News,” “The Today Show,” “ABC World News,” CNN, Fox News and National Public Radio.
Joan E. Bertin is Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, a coalition of more than 50 national non-profit literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and civil liberties groups that promotes freedom of thought, inquiry and expression and opposes censorship in all its forms. Joan is a graduate of NYU Law School, where she was a fellow in the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program.
After law school, she was a practicing lawyer for more than twenty years, first representing indigent clients as a legal services lawyer and then as a member of the ACLU national legal staff. She has taught at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College, and frequently speaks and writes on legal and policy issues.
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.