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For anyone who's been paying attention, President Barack Obama's disappointing record on free speech, civil liberties, and governmental transparency is old news.

This year, though, is special. Obama's longstanding lack of respect for the role of a free press in a democratic society reached new depths when it was revealed that his Justice Department had snooped on the Associated Press and Fox News' James Rosen in trying to ferret out leakers.

Then came the überleaker — Edward Snowden, who provided The Guardian and The Washington Post with documents showing that the National Security Agency was monitoring our phone traffic, our emails, and other communications on a scale more massive than previously imagined.

"I welcome this debate and I think it's healthy for our democracy," Obama said after the NSA revelations. Yet his administration has already begun the process of bringing criminal charges against Snowden that could put him behind bars for decades.

It is against that chilling backdrop that Harvey Silverglate and I present the 16th Annual Muzzle Awards — a Fourth of July round-up of outrages against free speech and personal liberties in New England during the past year.

Launched in 1998, the Muzzles' home was the late, great Boston Phoenix, which ceased publication in March. This year we are pleased to bring the Muzzles to WGBH.org, and to continue publishing them for readers of The Providence Phoenix and The Portland Phoenix.

The envelopes, please.

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Related: The 13th Annual Muzzle Awards, A libertarian's view of the Barstool/Brady child-porn fiasco, The 12th Annual Muzzle Awards, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Ed Davis, William O'Brien, Maine Department of Transportation,  More more >
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ARTICLES BY DAN KENNEDY
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