Muzzles Spotlight Affronts to Free Speech

Virginia Department of Corrections "wins" for denying inmate a Christian sermon CD

By Brandon Benavides
|  Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010  |  Updated 1:46 PM EDT
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Muzzles Spotlight Affronts to Free Speech

Karyna Che, Shutterstock

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The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression announced its 2010 Jefferson Muzzle awards.

This year all 10 “winners” were government and school officials, including the Virginia Department of Corrections.

An inmate requested a CD of a Christian sermon but was denied on the grounds that "you can only receive music CD's, no sermons on CD's."

The Alabama Alcohol Control Board won for banning the sale of a California wine because the label had a naked nymph riding a bike on the bottle. The questionable image is a replica of an 1895 French poster featuring a nymph flying next to a winged bicycle.

“If you magnify it by three or four-fold, even then you could barely detect a nipple,” Center Director Bob O’Neil said.

Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Calif., won for its policy limiting protests to a free speech patio. Faculty members protesting budget cuts tried to move to a nearby courtyard but were banned from campus.

The Las Vegas Police Department won after it blocked musicians from performing on the main strip -- particularly those on streets, sidewalks and parks that are considered public space.

Oklahoma’s tax commission won after it denied personalized license plate with the words “IM GAY.” The commission cited its rule barring plates that might be offensive to the general public.

Visit the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression Web site for a complete list of the winners.

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