The anti-censorship awards known as the “Jefferson Muzzles” are being awarded to the federal government and the White House for snooping on the news media and limiting access.
The dubious honors were announced Wednesday by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville. They are intended to draw a harsh light on people and institutions that engage in the most egregious affronts to First Amendment principals.
The awards are announced each year on or near the April 13 birthday of Jefferson, a free-speech advocate and the nation’s third president. Winners get a T-shirt with Jefferson’s likeness and a black rectangle over his mouth.
Center director Josh Wheeler says he can’t remember in the Muzzles’ 23-year history a time when press freedom so dominated the awards.