The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, a member of the NCAC-led Free Expression Network, today revealed the winners of the 23rd annual Jefferson Muzzles, an award bestowed on individuals and institutions responsible for some of the more egregious or ridiculous affronts to First Amendment principles occurring in the previous year. This year’s dubious honorees range from high school principals to POTUS. “In the nearly quarter century we have been awarding the Jefferson Muzzles, I can’t remember a year in which freedom of the press issues were so dominant,” says Josh Wheeler, director of the TJ Center. “From the White House to the state house, from universities to high schools, members of the press have had to defend against a variety of challenges, some never seen before.”
Since 1992, the Center 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.”
The list also includes lesser-known acts of censorship to remind us that infringements on the First Amendment occur every day, unbeknownst to the masses, and attempts to “dispel the complacency with which many view free speech issues.”
And the 2014 Jefferson Muzzles go to…
1. The U.S. Department of Justice: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter…especially after I heard about that crazy sh#! being pulled by the DOJ.” -Thomas Jefferson
2. The White House Press Office: Today’s images include an 8” x 10” of the President making a 3-pointer on the basketball court.
3. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security: The NSA – peeping while you’re sleeping.
4. The North Carolina General Assembly Police: “Get the Funk out of here.”
5. The Kansas Board of Regents: Toto, I’ve a feeling this isn’t the Kansas we know anymore.
6. Modesto Junior College: Taking the Constitution out of Constitution Day
7. The Tennessee State Legislature: Cows have privacy rights too, you know.
8. Wharton High School Principal Brad Woods: SALUTATORIAN: Latin for “short leash”
9. Pemberton Township High School Principal Ida Smith: None of the news that’s fit to print.
Read more about the awards, past winners and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.