FOR RELEASE: September 4, 2013

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute

Arlington, Va., Sept. 4 – The heads of two prominent entertainment industry organizations have joined the Free Speech Week Advisory Council, it was announced today by The Media Institute.

John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), and Jay D. Roth, national executive director of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), are the newest members of the advisory group chaired by Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 30,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 70 countries worldwide.  Its membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theatre owners as well.

The Directors Guild of America represents the creative and economic rights of directors and members of the directorial team working in film, television, commercials, documentaries, news, sports, and new media.  Its 15,000 members worldwide include directors, assistant directors, associate directors, unit production managers, stage managers, and production associates.

Mr. Fithian and Mr. Roth will join several other leaders in the media and entertainment industries on the Free Speech Week Advisory Council, including (in addition to Chairman Dodd):

  • Senator Gordon Smith, president and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters;
  • Michael Powell, president and CEO, National Cable & Telecommunications Association;
  • Caroline Little, president and CEO, Newspaper Association of America;
  • Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO, Clear Channel (last year’s chair of the FSW Advisory Council);
  • Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America;
  • Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association;
  • Walter McCormick, president and CEO, USTelecom;
  • Mindy Hutchison, executive director, National Press Photographers Association.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jay Roth and John Fithian to the Free Speech Week Advisory Council,” said Media Institute President Patrick Maines.  “Their involvement in the creation and distribution of expressive content is the very essence of free speech, and we will value their perspective.”

Free Speech Week (FSW) is a national event conducted during the third week of October every year.  FSW seeks to raise awareness of freedom of speech in the United States, and gives organizations and individuals an opportunity to celebrate that freedom.  This year’s Free Speech Week will take place Oct. 21-27, 2013.

Free Speech Week was created in 2005 by The Media Institute and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation.  The Media Institute is a nonprofit research foundation specializing in communications policy issues.  The Institute fosters three goals: freedom of speech, a competitive media and communications industry, and excellence in journalism.   The Institute continues to promote FSW and to manage its website,

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