Last Call: 2021 Free Speech and Open Government Award Nominations Due

Nominations are due Friday, Jan. 14 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 teams. We wish to recognize individuals or institutions whose actions deserve public honor and emulation for their advancement of free expression or government transparency.

PRIZE: $1,000

DEADLINE: January 14, 2022

WINNER ANNOUNCED: February 8, 2022 

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 or protest; 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. 8 and will receive a $1,000 prize. Sign up here to ensure you receive FAC’s announcement.

Contest rules and details

  • This is a national contest. Tell us how this work made an impact and where the impact was felt.
  • 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/results achieved between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2021. 
  • There is no in-person awards ceremony associated with this award.

Questions? Write to 

Past winners
The 2020 award went to the Brown Institute for Media Innovation for its “Documenting COVID-19” project. A team of journalists, technologists, and researchers created a massive clearinghouse of public records and produced accountability journalism in partnership with more than 30 newsrooms. The project set out to examine the decision-making of state and local officials in response to the coronavirus pandemic — decisions that had life-changing consequences for communities around the country. In the first months of the project, the team behind the project assembled 220 document sets across 44 states and collaborated with newsrooms on more than 40 different investigative stories, some resulting in policy changes. 
Read about other past winners.