RTNDA To Honor Three With First Amendment Awards

The Radio-Television News Directors Association will honor Google, ABC and NPR commentator Cokie Roberts and CNN VP Susan Grant with First Amendment awards.

Google, with Chairman Eric Schmidt accepting,  will get RTNDA's Leadership award, which goes to a a business or government leader for significant contributions to protecting freedom of the press. Google was cited for efforts to make information universally accessible. "Google makes it possible for electronic journalists to gather information quickly and transmit their stories instantly," said RTNDA.

RTNDA President Barbara Cochran said the group took into account criticism's of Google related to self-censoring of its site in China, but said the company has "taken a lot of steps to deal with those situations. They and some other organizations have adopted protocols for how they handle things in countries like China," she said. On balance, says Cochran, "what they have created has been so empowering in terms of given access to all kinds of information."

Roberts will receive the Len Zeidenberg First Amendment award, named after B&C's former chief Washington correspondent. The award is for an on-air journalist who has "made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms."

Grant's award is for someone off-air or in management who has stood up for the First Amendemnt.

The awards will be given out March 12 in Washington.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.