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Playboy Announces Judges for First Amendment, Freedom of Expression Awards

CHICAGO, June 11 –The Playboy Foundation today announced the distinguished panel of civil liberties advocates who will choose the winners of the 2008 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards — including the first-ever winner of the Freedom of Expression Award, a $25,000 seed grant to fund the work of a noteworthy advocate for the First Amendment.

The 2008 selection committee members are David M. Rubin, Dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University; Geoffrey Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at University of Chicago Law School, and Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union and Professor of Law at New York Law School.

“This exceptional panel of judges will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the selection of the 2008 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winners,” said Christie Hefner, Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. “I am certain their own individual records of passionate commitment to civil liberties will inspire our 2008 Award winners in their efforts to promote and defend the fundamental rights protected by the First Amendment.”

Mr. Rubin, who has served 18 years as Dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, will step down from that position effective June 30; after a sabbatical year, he will rejoin the Newhouse School faculty as a professor.

As dean, Mr. Rubin has had an extraordinary impact on communications education nationwide during a time of revolutionary change in journalism. His tenure was crowned by the building of Newhouse III, a nationally acclaimed state-of-the-art communications center completed in 2007. Mr. Rubin sits on the advisory board of the Hearst Foundation’s College Journalism Competition and has twice served as a Pulitzer Prize juror.

Mr. Stone, a member of the University of Chicago law faculty since 1973, is a noted scholar on constitutional law. His most recent books are Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark (Rowman & Littlefield 2007) and War and Liberty: An American Dilemma (W.W. Norton 2007).

Mr. Stone’s 2004 book, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism, received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 2005, the Los Angeles Times 2004 Book Prize for best book in the field of history, the American Political Science Association’s Kammerer Award for 2005 for the best book in Political Science, and Harvard University’s 2005 Goldsmith Award for the best book in the field of Public Affairs. Perilous Times also won a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. Mr. Stone is currently at work on a new book, Sexing the Constitution, which will explore the historical evolution of the intersection of sex, religion, and law.

Ms. Strossen, the first woman ever to lead the ACLU, has announced that she will step down as President later this year after more than 17 years of distinguished service. During that time, Ms. Strossen has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s best-known and most respected defenders of our civil liberties. Under her leadership, the ACLU’s membership has increased from 275,000 to more than 500,000. An early proponent of free speech and privacy on the Internet, she also has led the fight against government secrecy and human rights violations in the wake of 9/11. In addition to her work on behalf of the ACLU, Ms. Strossen is a full-time professor at New York Law School.

Ms. Strossen, who has served twice previously as a judge for the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, is the author of Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights (Scribner, 1995), which The New York Times named a “Notable Book” of 1995.

The judges will choose the 2008 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award winners, including the recipient of the first-ever $25,000 Freedom of Expression Award. The new award was created to support the work of an individual whose record of accomplishments indicates a promising future as an effective advocate for the First Amendment. Preference will be given to emerging leaders whose work to protect and promote free speech in all its forms will be significantly supported by the cash grant.

In addition to creating the new Freedom of Expression Award this year, the Playboy Foundation is doubling the value of the cash award for the other Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards to $10,000.

Ms. Hefner created the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards in 1979 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans. Over the last three decades, more than 125 valiant advocates for First Amendment freedoms — from lawyers and journalists to librarians, filmmakers and high school students — have been recognized with the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. Historically, award winners have worked in journalism, education, book publishing, arts, entertainment, government and law.

The Playboy Foundation will accept nominations for the 2008 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, including the Freedom of Expression Award, through July 4. For more information, or to submit a nomination, please contact the Playboy Foundation at 312-373-2435 or go to www.playboyenterprises.com/foundation

The Playboy Foundation supports local and national nonprofit organizations that protect the rights of the individual in a free society. Since its inception in 1965, the Foundation has awarded nearly $20 million in grants and in-kind contributions to organizations concerned with First Amendment freedoms, civil liberties and social justice.

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