Apply Now for FAC’s 2020 Free Speech & Open Government Award

The award, recognizing work that advances freedom of expression or information, comes with a $1,000 prize

Nominations are now open for the First Amendment Coalition’s Free Speech & Open Government Award, given each year to recognize significant achievement in advancing freedom of information and expression. 

The award recognizes outstanding accomplishment, service or other contributions to the advancement of free expression or the people’s right to know about their government. The winner could be a journalist, activist, blogger, lawyer, news organization, software developer or whistleblower — or any combination thereof, including work by teams. We wish to recognize individuals or institutions whose actions deserve public honor and emulation for their advancement of free expression or government transparency.

“In a year of historic demonstrations across the country, along with a global pandemic that prompted a desperate public need for  reliable information, the critical work of advancing freedom of speech, assembly and the press and government transparency was as crucial as it has ever been,” said FAC Executive Director David Snyder. “We encourage those who organized demonstrations, fought for public records, and those who helped change laws and policies to the benefit of the press and public to submit their efforts for recognition.”

PRIZE: $1,000

DEADLINE: Jan. 15, 2021

Contest Period is November 2019 to Dec. 31, 2020

Areas vital in the struggle for open government are access to public meetings, public records, the courts, and government data; defense of citizens’ right to speak; defense of journalists’ rights; and defense of the right to “blow the whistle” and alert the public to government misconduct and other matters of common concern.

The winner or winners will be announced on Feb. 9, 2021 and will receive a $1,000 prize. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no awards ceremony associated with this honor.

Contest rules and details

This is a national contest.
There is no fee to enter.
There is no limit to the number of nominations submitted by any person or organization.  Self-nominations are encouraged.
Nominations must be for work done or journalism published between November 2019 and Dec. 31, 2020. 

Questions? Write to The nomination process is simple.

Past winners

The 2019 award went to the California Reporting Project, an unprecedented collaboration of competing newsrooms, started as a cooperative effort between the Bay Area News Group/Southern California News Group, Capital Public Radio, Investigative Studios (of UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program), KPCC/LAist, KQED and the Los Angeles Times to submit requests for records under California’s new police transparency law, Senate Bill 1421, and to share results. The initiative quickly grew, and now includes more than 40 newsrooms that have produced hundreds of stories detailing police use-of-force and instances of misconduct. 
Read about all of the past winners.