The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation is honoring Iowa Senator Charles Grassley with its First Amendment Leadership Award. MissouriNet news director Bob Priddy is president of the group.Priddy says the Radio and Television News Directors Association is the only organization which speaks exclusively for broadcast journalists, and places a high value on freedom of expression. Priddy says journalists could not do what they do without the protection of First Amendment rights. Grassley has long fought for public access to government records and protection for so-called “whistleblowers” who go public with their concerns about government agencies, programs or contracts. Grassley has also sought — without success — to open the federal courts to microphones and cameras. Priddy says openness in the courts is something R-T-N-D-A has fought for over the years. Grassley, whose daughter once worked for the Radio and Television News Directors Association, will share the First Amendment award with a democrat senator from Vermont. Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt, A-B-C News president Roone Arledge and C-N-N founder Ted Turner are past recipients of the award Grassley will receive at a banquet in Washington on March 11th.
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