NEW YORK – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) announced today that Executive Director Christopher M. Finan will retire this summer after 40 years of defending free expression and First Amendment rights.
Before joining NCAC in 2017, Finan was president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and executive director of Media Coalition, a trade association that defends the free speech rights of producers and distributors of content protected by the First Amendment. He was also a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation and a recipient of its Roll of Honor Award. In May, he will receive The Authors Guild Foundation Award for Defending Free Speech and Expression.
“Chris has been a leader in the fight for free speech for four decades,” said NCAC Board President Emily Knox. “He has defended the rights of authors, booksellers, librarians, readers, and youth and strengthened NCAC’s reputation as a first responder to censorship. The NCAC board congratulates Chris on his retirement and is grateful for his years of service.”
Finan has also written extensively about the history of free speech. He is the author of How Free Speech Saved Democracy: The Untold History of How the First Amendment Became an Essential Tool for Securing Liberty and Social Justice (Steerforth Press, 2022), and From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America (Beacon Press, 2007), winner of the American Library Association’s Eli Oboler Award. He received a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for editing National Security and Free Speech: The Debate Since 9/11 (IDEBATE Press, 2013).
A native of Cleveland, Finan is a graduate of Antioch College. After working as a newspaper reporter, he studied American history at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. He has also written Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior (Hill and Wang, 2002), and Drunks: The Story of Alcoholism and the Birth of Recovery (Beacon Press, 2017).
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to fight for free speech. This is a struggle that began in the earliest days of the republic and will continue as long as people refuse to accept that the best answer to speech we hate is more speech, not censorship,” he said.
NCAC has engaged Koya Leadership Partners/Diversified Search Group to lead its search for a new Executive Director. Additional information about NCAC and its mission are available at ncac.org and a full job description is available at https://diversifiedsearchgroup.com/search/19390-national-coalition-against-censorship-ceo-ed.
About National Coalition Against Censorship
For almost 50 years, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has been a first responder in protecting freedom of expression, a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy. It represents 58 national nonprofit organizations, including literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor and civil liberties groups. NCAC works with people fighting censorship at the local level. It encourages and facilitates dialogue between diverse voices and perspectives, including those historically silenced.