LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - November 08, 2017) - The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation is pleased to announce that it is accepting nominations for the 2018 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards. Established in 1979 by Christie Hefner, former Chairman & CEO of Playboy Enterprises Inc., the awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans.

"Defending our First Amendment is one of the most important contributions that citizens can make," says Christie Hefner, Founder and Chairman of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards. Each year, an independent panel of judges selects the winners. This year's distinguished judges are:

Michael A. Bamberger, senior counsel in the New York office of the law firm, Dentons since 1977 and general counsel of Media Coalition, which defends the First Amendment rights of businesses that produce and distribute books, magazines, movies, videos, recordings, and video games. As one of the leading First Amendment lawyers in the U.S., Bamberger has successfully challenged dozens of federal, state, and local laws that would censor art and information and restrict the rights of Americans to purchase works protected by the Constitution. Bamberger is the author of Reckless Legislation: How Lawmakers Ignore the Constitution (Rutgers University Press, 2000).

Shelby Coffey III, vice chair of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Coffey is a senior fellow of the Freedom Forum where he studied and wrote about the media and First Amendment issues. He was executive vice president at ABC News in New York before joining CNN in 1999, where he was news chief at CNNfn. Coffey was the editor and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Times from 1989 to 1997. During his tenure, the Los Angeles Times won five Pulitzer Prizes and was a finalist for the award 25 times. In 1995, the National Press Foundation named Coffey Editor of the Year in recognition of the newspaper's coverage of the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and the 1994 O.J. Simpson trial. Before joining the Times, Coffey held editorial positions with the Dallas Times Herald, U.S. News & World Report, and The Washington Post.

Zephyr Teachout, political activist, former political candidate, and Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law. An immensely talented and creative scholar, Professor Teachout brings a rich background in laws governing political behavior, both domestically and abroad, as well as the insights of her original work on corruption and its constitutional history. Teachout is the author of numerous publications and papers on politics and corruption. She received a 2014 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in the Book Publishing category for her masterly work of scholarship, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard University Press 2014).

A press reception with the judges and winners will be held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on June 4, 2018, to honor and present the winners with a cash prize and a commemorative plaque. Nominations will close on December 15, 2017. To apply online, click here: apply.hmhfoundation.org

For a complete list of winners and judges, as well as printable nomination forms, click here: hmhfoundation.org/info

About the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation

The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation was established to work on behalf of individual rights in a democratic society. The primary focus of the foundation is to support organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights and civil liberties with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies. For more information visit: hmhfoundation.org

Contact Information:

Amanda Warren
Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards