‘Free Speech America’ Gala

The “Free Speech America” Gala is an Institute event held every fall that presents two awards to deserving individuals. The American Horizon Award recognizes leadership in promoting the vitality and independence of American media and communications. The Freedom of Speech Award recognizes an individual who has made important contributions to the advancement and protection of free speech. Here is a look at recent Galas….

The 2022 Gala, from left: “NBC Nightly News” Anchor Lester Holt, Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns, FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington, NBC News Correspondent Harry Smith, President & CEO Patrick Butler of America’s Public Television Stations, and Master of Ceremonies Richard E. Wiley of Wiley Rein LLP.

2022

American Horizon Award
Ken Burns
Presented by Patrick Butler
Freedom of Speech Award
Lester Holt
Presented by Harry Smith
Guest Speaker
FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington

2021

American Horizon Award
William E. Kennard
Presented by Randall Stephenson
Freedom of Speech Award
Norah O’Donnell
Presented by Gayle King
Guest Speaker
Senator Gordon Smith
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

2020

American Horizon Award
David L. Cohen
Presented by Cesar Conde
Freedom of Speech Award
Mignon Clyburn
Presented by Rep. G. K. Butterfield
Guest Speaker
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr

2019

American Horizon Award
Caroline Beasley
Presented by Senator Gordon Smith
Freedom of Speech Award
Frederick J. Ryan, Jr.
Presented by Pamela Brown
Guest Speaker
FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks

2018

American Horizon Award
Cathy Hughes
Presented by Dr. Wayne Frederick
Freedom of Speech Award
Chris Wallace
Presented by Brit Hume
Guest Speaker
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly

2017

American Horizon Award
David Lougee
Presented by Senator Gordon Smith
Freedom of Speech Award
Jeffrey Herbst, Ph.D.
Presented by George B. Irish
Guest Speaker
Rep. Marsha Blackburn

2016

American Horizon Award
Perry A. Sook
Presented by Adonis Hoffman
Freedom of Speech Award
Ajit V. Pai
Presented by Robert McDowell
Guest Speaker
Patricia de Stacy Harrison

2015

American Horizon Award
Meredith Attwell Baker
Presented by Larry Irving
Freedom of Speech Award
Peggy Noonan
Presented by Bob Woodward
Guest Speaker
Rep. Bob Goodlatte

2014

American Horizon Award
Gracia C. Martore
Presented by Gary B. Pruitt
Freedom of Speech Award
Senator Chris Dodd
Presented by Carl Hulse
Guest Speaker
Commissioner Ajit Pai

2013

American Horizon Award
Senator Gordon Smith
Presented by Rep. Greg Walden
Freedom of Speech Award
Josh Sapan
Presented by Brian Lamb
Guest Speaker
Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn

2012

American Horizon Award
John Riccitiello
Presented by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
Freedom of Speech Award
Bob Pittman
Presented by Senator Roger F. Wicker
Guest Speaker
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

2011

American Horizon Award
Randall Stephenson
Presented by Ben Jealous
Freedom of Speech Award
Robert M. McDowell
Presented by Rod Smolla
Guest Speaker
Senator Mark Warner

2010

American Horizon Award
Rupert Murdoch
Presented by Joel I. Klein
Freedom of Speech Award
Kyle E. McSlarrow
Presented by Decker Anstrom
Guest Speaker
Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker