Freedom House Alum Honored for Contribution to Press Freedom | Freedom House

Freedom House Alum Honored for Contribution to Press Freedom


Freedom House congratulates Leonard Sussman upon his receipt of the first annual Dana Bullen Press Freedom Advocacy prize, bestowed on champions of press freedom by the World Press Freedom Committee, an international organization representing 45 journalistic groups. Sussman served as executive director of Freedom House for 21 years (1967-1988) and is a fervent advocate of international press freedom, as well as author of 10 books on the subject.

“Leonard Sussman played an extraordinary role in Freedom House’s development and level of influence, and he is greatly deserving of this award,” said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House’s current executive director.  “Leonard's vision to create a global survey evaluating press freedom has given countless journalists and activists worldwide a powerful weapon with which to fight for free speech."

During his tenure as director, Sussman created and authored the Freedom of the Press survey, which has since grown to be the definitive assessment of this topic worldwide. Since its inception in 1980, the annual report has expanded to cover 195 countries and territories, providing a narrative report of key developments and ranking their media as “free”, “partly free” and “not free”. Findings are also published in a companion map of press freedom distributed each year.

The survey reports on both general trends and specific countries of particular concern, and serves as a comprehensive guideline to individuals, policy makers and institutions who understand the role that a free press has on a nation’s overall freedom. Freedom House will further expand on the survey in 2009, with the introduction of new annual survey focused on evaluating internet freedom around the world.

Sussman will receive his prize at the United Nations on December 9.  Floyd Abrams, a leading expert on constitutional and first amendment law, will speak on the relationship between the U.S. Constitution's first amendment and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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