WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Newseum announced the recipients of the 2017 Free Expression Awards, which recognize those who exhibit passion for and dedication to free expression. Honorees have taken personal or professional risks in sharing critical information with the public, have been censored or punished by authorities or other groups for their work, or have pushed boundaries in artistic and media expression. This year's award categories are lifetime achievement, religious freedom, free press, and arts and entertainment.
The 2017 honorees are:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Rep. John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and building what he calls "The Beloved Community" in America. A leader of the civil rights movement, Lewis was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1987 and continues to fight for American constitutional freedoms.
- Religious Freedom Award: Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz is the executive director of Becket Law. At Becket, she leads a team of lawyers and communications professionals who defend religious freedom for people of all faiths at home and abroad. In 2016, she was named by the Speaker of the House to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan commission that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief.
- Free Press Award: Martha Raddatz is ABC News's chief global affairs correspondent and co-anchor of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Her vast experience includes nearly 20 years of reporting on the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House, and from conflict zones around the world. Raddatz has moderated two primary debates (2015 and 2016), one vice presidential debate (2012) and one presidential debate (2016).
- Arts and Entertainment Award: Hugh Hefner and Christie Hefner are joint honorees for their passionate advocacy of First Amendment rights. Hugh Hefner launched Playboy in 1953 in conservative post-war America. The magazine took a progressive approach to sexuality and free expression, and advocated for civil rights and social justice. His daughter Christie Hefner was Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. from 1988 to 2008, making her the longest-serving female CEO of a U.S. public company. She launched the HMH First Amendment Awards and is Chairman of them today.
The winners will be honored at a special event at the Newseum on April 18, 2017. Bret Baier, chief political anchor and host of "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Fox News, will host the awards ceremony. Catherine Merrill Williams, president and publisher of Washingtonian Media, will chair the dinner. To inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sara Bronnenkant at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individual tickets will be released for sale in early 2017.
Last year's inaugural Free Expression Awards, hosted by "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley, honored James Risen, reporter for The New York Times; Boniface Mwangi, founder of PAWA254; Abdallah Bin Bayyah, president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies; and Pussy Riot, the Russian punk rock protest group.
ABOUT THE NEWSEUM
The Newseum promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Headquartered on historic Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the Newseum's compelling, dynamic and engaging exhibits, programs and education initiatives help ensure that these fundamental freedoms remain strong and protected both today and for future generations. The Newseum Institute promotes the study, exploration and education of the challenges confronting freedom through its First Amendment Center and the Religious Freedom Center. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum. For more information, visit newseum.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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