2008 Jefferson Muzzles Awards

About the Awards  Since 1992, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has celebrated the birth and ideals of its namesake by calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson’s admonition that freedom of speech ‘cannot be limited without being lost.’     Announced on or near April 13 — the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson — the Jefferson Muzzles are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment.      Because the importance and value of free expression extend far beyond the First Amendment’s limit on government censorship, acts of private censorship are not spared consideration for the dubious honor of receiving a Muzzle.     Unfortunately, each year the finalists for the Jefferson Muzzles have emerged from an alarmingly large group of candidates. For each recipient, a dozen could have been substituted. Further, an examination of previous Jefferson Muzzle recipients reveals that the disregard of First Amendment principles is not the byproduct of a particular political outlook but rather that threats to free expression come from all over the political spectrum.

1)Sarpy County (Nebraska) Attorney L. Kenneth Polikov
2)U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Donald Washington and Acting Head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker
3)Lancaster County (Nebraska) District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront
4)The New York State Department of Motor Vechicles
5)The Scranton (Pennsylvania) Police Department
6)The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
7)CBS Radio and MSNBC
8)The 2007 Managing Board of The Cavalier Daily
9)Valdosta (GA) State University President Ronald M. Zaccari
10)Brandeis University Administration
11)Lewis Mills High School (CT) Principal Karissa Niehoff and School District Superintendent Paula Schwartz
12)Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
13)The Texas Democratic Party
14)…and only the second Lifetime Muzzle ever awarded goes to The Federal Communications Commission

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