Last night, the Newseum and Newseum Institute presented the 2018 Free Expression Awards, which recognize those who exhibit passion for and dedication to free expression, to four admirable individuals and journalists who uncovered sexual misconduct in the workplace.
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The New York Times Company Chairman and former publisher of The New York Times Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work to shape and implement innovative print and online initiatives. During his tenure as publisher, the paper earned 60 Pulitzer Prizes and provided its readers with innumerable examples of momentous journalism.
“The Newseum reminds us that great journalism has many purposes: to inform, to enlighten, to challenge and to surprise,” said Sulzberger. “The highest and noblest role of a free press is holding power to account. That’s been true throughout our nation’s history but it is especially true to remember today.”
Dr. John Carlos and Dr. Tommie Smith both accepted awards for their brave protest on the medal podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Together they lowered their heads and raised their gloved fists in a silent protest of the mistreatment of black Americans and people of color everywhere.
Thirteen journalists from four news publications received a Free Expression Award on behalf of all journalists who uncovered sexual misconduct in the workplace. Their work broke through a dam of suppressed stories and silenced voices to reveal decades-long harassment throughout the American workplace, including media, film, sports, manufacturing, the arts and Congress.
After publishing cartoons caricaturing the prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, terrorists attacked the office of French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in January 2015. Twelve were left dead but cartoonist Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau survived. In the three years since, millions have marched under the banner “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) and Riss and his colleagues continue to puncture the powerful and pompous in fierce defense of the fundamental right to free expression.
The recipients of the third annual Free Expression Awards have taken personal or professional risks in sharing critical information with the public, have been censored or punished by authorities or other groups for their work and have pushed boundaries in artistic and media expression. Together, they represent the power of the First Amendment and free expression to enact change and make a difference.