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Kate Martin and the Center for National Security Studies to receive Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award


Georgiana Vines, SDX Foundation Grants & Awards Chair, (865) 577-6612 or gvines@spj.org
Todd J. Gillman, SDX Foundation President, (202) 661-8421 or tgillman@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS -- Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, and the Center have been selected to receive the 2005 Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award sponsored by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“Kate Martin and the Center for National Security Studies are being honored for their years of working to protect open government and freedoms of speech and the press in the face of adversity in the name of national security,” said Georgiana Vines, chairwoman of the award’s selection committee.

The $10,000 award is given in memory of Pulliam, publisher of the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News from 1975 until his death in 1999. He was a staunch believer in the First Amendment.

The award will be presented during the closing banquet at the Society’s 2005 Convention and National Journalism Conference at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Oct. 18. The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is the charitable and educational arm of the Society.

Martin has worked to protect fundamental First Amendment freedoms for 17 years. She is a First Amendment lawyer, theorist, lobbyist, writer and speaker.

The nomination for Martin and the Center said they had worked to:
* Strengthen the public right of access to government information.
* Combat excessive government secrecy.
* Protect the free exchange of ideas and information across international borders.
* Prevent government surveillance of First Amendment activities.
* Assure public accountability of secret intelligence agencies.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Martin has led the challenge to the Bush administration’s unprecedented secrecy to protect the public’s right to know, their nominators, including journalist Seymour Hersh, said.

In the past year alone, Martin and the Center alerted the press to the apparent unintended expansion of the national Freedom of Information Act’s exemption for intelligence sources and methods in intelligence reform legislation.

The Center stopped a proposal that would have allowed defense intelligence agencies to spy on Americans. When the Senate Intelligence Committee adopted a provision that would have allowed Defense Department officials to conduct undercover operations on groups in the U.S., the Center alerted the press. A Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff, “The Pentagon: Spying In America?” helped persuade Congress to drop the provision, Martin said.

She also had published an op-ed column in The Washington Post and Newsday that outlined the civil liberties concerns raised by proposals to reorganize the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies. She has repeatedly asked questions about how the reorganization of domestic intelligence will guard against government spying on political or religious activities of Americas.

Martin and the Center were very active in the public debates surrounding the reauthorizing of the Patriot Act, especially on First Amendment issues.

They have pushed for measures to prevent the recurrence of mass secret arrests and secret hearings like those of hundreds of innocent immigrants in the weeks following the 911 attacks. That effort included questioning the involvement of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in the secret arrests during his nomination hearings and pushing for enactment of the Civil Liberties Restoration Act, which the House Judiciary Committee has under consideration.

In addition to calling attention to secrecy in government, Martin and the Center have defended the First Amendment right of speech of former government officials who criticize the government and protected the public’s need to know the information that such individuals can provide. One such official was former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, fired for criticizing the defense budget.

Martin and the Center also have been active in the area of intellectual leadership by providing analysis and understanding to resolve tension between the demands of democracy for openness and of the military and intelligence agencies for secrecy. The Center published a “Statement of Principles of Oversight and Accountability of Security Services in a Constitutional Democracy,” which have been translated and published in many languages, including Russian, Spanish, Polish and Albanian. The Principles outline legal protections necessary to ensure freedoms of speech and open government on national security issues.

Martin has been with the Center since 1988. As an attorney in private practice, she served on the legal team which successfully defended Hersh in a libel action brought by the former Prime Minister of India, Moraji Desai, challenging Hersh’s reporting in The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House. She also has been general counsel to the National Security Archive, a research library located at George Washington University. She is a Pomona College and University of Virginia Law School graduate.

Vines, retired associate editor of the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, chaired the judging committee in her role as co-chair of the SDX Foundation’s grants and awards committee. Other judges were Russell B. Pulliam, Pulliam’s son and associate editor of The Indianapolis Star; Ken Bunting, executive editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Joel Campbell, co-chair of SPJ’s FOI Committee, and co-chair of the Department of Communications, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and Dan Christensen, investigative reporter for The Miami Herald and the 2004 First Amendment Award recipient. Christensen accepted the award for his work reporting on secret court cases in the U.S. District Court in Miami when he was with the Miami Daily Business Review.

Founded in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public foundation that is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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