WASHINGTON – The Radio Television Digital News Foundation is presenting its First Amendment Award to The Associated Press for defending press freedoms against secret government subpoenas for reporters’ phone calls.
Journalists for Gannett, NBC, ABC and CBS were also cited for their efforts to protect a free press.
The foundation said it selected AP for the way it “fought for its reporters” after discovering that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed two months’ worth of telephone records for phone lines used by AP reporters and editors as part of a leak investigation.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt was highly critical of the department, calling the seizure an attack on a free press.
Also being honoured this year: Gannett’s David Lougee, NBC’s Lester Holt, ABC’s Robin Sproul and Bill Plante of CBS.