‘Jefferson Muzzles’ awarded to 11 ‘winners’

Monday, April 13, 1998

New York City’s outspoken Mayor Rudolph Giuliani shares top honors with U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and with the Loudoun County (Va.) Library Board today as one of 11 individuals and organizations cited for insensitivity to the First Amendment principle of free expression.

The “Jefferson Muzzle” awards are announced annually on the birthday of Thomas Jefferson by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, a nonpartisan institution in Charlottesville, Va.

Giuliani was cited for ordering the New York City Transit Authority to remove from city buses a New York magazine ad that satirized him.

McCain and Lieberman won for threatening NBC and other television programmers with legislation which would require them to broadcast “voluntary” content-rating codes.

The Loudoun County Library Board made the list by adopting a highly restrictive Internet policy and blocking software for library computers.

Among other winners:

  • Oklahoma County District Attorney Robert Macy and the Oklahoma City Police Department, for illegal seizure of videos of the 1979 German film, “The Tin Drum.”
  • The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, for recalling state-issued vanity license plates displaying the Confederate flag.
  • A Williamson County (Tenn.) grand jury, for indicting a Barnes & Noble bookstore that displayed books by art photographers Jock Sturges and David Hamilton.
  • Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello, for pulling all government advertising from a San Juan newspaper critical of his administration.

  • Appeals court hears arguments in Giuliani bus ad case 12.16.97
  • Challenge of library’s Internet policy survives motion to dismiss 4.8.98
  • Federal judge rules police were wrong in seizing The Tin Drum 12.29.97
  • Tennessee grand jury indicts Barnes & Noble for obscenity 11.24.97
  • Newspaper sues government officials for ‘campaign of harassment and punishment’ 12.10.97