Nominees for free-speech award announced
Correction: The original story said Roxana Saberi was arrested in April 2009; she was arrested in January 2009. The First Amendment Center Online regrets the error.
Ten individuals who have faced threats, jail time or other sanctions in the
pursuit of free speech have been nominated for the 2010 Tully Free Speech Award
from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.
An Oct. 5 news release said a committee of Syracuse University students and
faculty will choose the winner later this fall. The nominees are:
disclose his government sources for a 2004 article revealing that a federal
prosecutor was under investigation for suspected misconduct, citing his Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimination and First Amendment right to protect
his sources. He may face jail time.
Breen resisted a court order this year to surrender her reporting materials on a
March story concerning a Real Irish Republican Army member’s confession of
murder of two Northern Ireland soldiers. Breen faced five years of prison under
the Terrorism Act of 2000 and death threats from the Real IRA if she cooperated
with authorities. A court eventually upheld Breen’s right to withhold her
detention, harassment and torture after exposing a Mexican child-pornography
ring operating with protection from the government and politicians in her 2005
book, The Demons of Eden. Cacho continues to write about sexual
exploitation, violence and corruption despite harassment from unknown officials
and death threats sent to her blog.
put on trial, and sentenced to 12 months of hard labor on charges of spying. The
two were arrested while on the North Korea-China border while reporting on the
human trafficking between the two countries. After nearly five months of
imprisonment, Lee and Ling were freed when former President Bill Clinton visited
North Korea to secure their release.
court for refusing to name her sources for an article on an investigation into
Army scientist Stephen Hatfill’s possible link to the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Though a federal appeals court dismissed the contempt order and fines and
Hatfill eventually settled, Hatfill has threatened to sue Locy for his legal
faculty adviser to the West Fargo High School’s student newspaper when he
refused the administration’s demands to censor the paper’s negative coverage of
teacher morale and a scheduling policy.
China in 2001 because of government harassment after she identified problems
with the country’s government structure and called for political reform in her
articles and books. Her books include The Pitfalls of Modernization and
Media Control in China.
threats for reporting on conflict-related topics such as counterinsurgency, drug
trafficking, organized crime, gangs and immigration from the U.S.-Mexico border
at McAllen, Texas.
interstate commerce laws by selling video depictions of animal cruelty and was
sentenced to 37 months in prison. Citing his First Amendment right to free
speech, Stevens appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. A decision in United
States v. Stevens is expected this spring.
Joan Tully, the benefactor of the Tully
Center for Free Speech, created the annual award to honor journalists who
faced danger to report an important story, according to Tully Center Director
As an associate professor at Syracuse University, Fought also noted the
impact of the award on her students: “When we bring the winner to campus, both
students and the general public hear his or her story and see a role model of
someone who embodies these important values of free speech and a free press.”
Asked about the significance of the Tully Free Speech Award, Paul McMasters,
retired First Amendment ombudsman for the Freedom Forum, said: “It is
particularly fitting that the Tully Center chooses to recognize those involved
in journalism to demonstrate to the public the value of free speech to
“As the back story on each of these nominees vividly illustrates, free speech
often comes at a high price: risks to jobs and reputation, legal problems,
government threats, even prison. These annual awards remind us that the freedom
of speech so many of us take for granted will not endure unless there are
courageous individuals willing to pay that price.”
The 2010 Tully Free Speech Award nominees were chosen by a panel of
professionals, including David Horowitz, executive director of Media Coalition;
Tala Dowlatshahi, senior adviser and spokesperson for Reporters Without Borders;
Charles N. Davis, executive director of the National Freedom of Information
Coalition and associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism; and Jane
Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota School
of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Allie Diffendal is a senior majoring in political science and American studies at Vanderbilt University.