|FAS Public Interest Report
The Journal of the Federation of American Scientists
Volume 57, Number 3
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Playboy Foundation Honors FAS Secrecy Project at Dinner With The Stars
Steven Aftergood, who has directed the FAS Secrecy Project and single-handedly has put out hundreds of issues of the popular online newsletter Secrecy News since 2000, was selected as one of eight winners of this year’s Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. Aftergood was honored at a dinner at New York’s Pier Sixty – complete with movie and television stars. The ceremony was hosted by Christie Hefner, the Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises Inc. and daughter of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
The prize “honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to protect and enhance the First Amendment rights of Americans,” according to the Playboy Foundation.
Among other winners this year were Bill Maher, controversial host of HBO’s “Real Time,” Molly Ivins, syndicated columnist, and David Cole, a professor of law at Georgetown University. The judges this year were Margaret Carlson of CNN’s The Capital Gang, Ann Richards, former governor of Texas and John Siegenthaler, founder of Vanderbilt University’s First Amendment Center. The proceeds from the benefit dinner go to The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group for the arts and entertainment industry.
Aftergood and FAS were honored for work that keeps “Americans appraised of the inner workings of government secrecy and promotes reform of its secret processes.”
Since the prize was founded 25 years ago, the award has gone to over 100 people. The Playboy Foundation reports that since it was founded in 1965, it has awarded nearly $16 million in grants and in-kind contributions to organizations concerned with First Amendment freedoms. At this year’s dinner, each winner received a prize check of $5,000.