WASHINGTON D.C. (WTNH) — Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal received the First Amendment Defender Award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation on Thursday evening.

Blumenthal was honored at the 30th annual recognition of First Amendment champions.

The award is presented to an individual or an organization that takes a public stand in support of press freedom.

At a time when press freedoms and access have been under attack, Sen. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut has stood tall for the rights of journalists to do their jobs and inform the public. He has an impressive record of fighting for the truth and defending the public’s need to know.

– Jerry Walsh, RTDNF chairman and Vice President of local content development for Nexstar Broadcasting
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) accepts the First Amendment Defender Award in Washington, D.C. – March 5, 2020

Sen. Blumenthal is currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate representing Connecticut. Previously, he served five terms as Connecticut’s Attorney General, fighting for individuals against large and powerful special interests.

In a statement about the award, RTDNF explained Blumenthal was chosen for the honor for “his relentless work eradicating corruption in state government and making state contracting accountable, fair, honest and transparent.”

RTDNF goes on to say, “in 2018, Sen. Blumenthal co-sponsored a resolution condemning the Trump Administration’s attempts to restrict media access and affirming the importance of a free press. The RTDNF says Blumenthal also helped introduce and reintroduce the Journalist Protection Act, making it a federal crime to intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist in the course of reporting. In 2019, he cosponsored the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, a bill that would create a  new memorial in Washington D.C. to honor journalists, photographers, and broadcasters that have died in the line of duty.“

News 8’s General Manager, Rich Graziano, joined Nexstar President, Tim Busch, and RTDNF Chairman and Vice President of Local Content Development of Nexstar Broadcasting, Jerry Walsh, at the First Amendment Awards show and dinner on Thursday night.

According to Graziano, “This year’s honorees are a mix of local and network journalists that provide illuminating reporting, a respected national news program which holds the powerful accountable and a visionary who defends the public’s right to know.”

Blumenthal joined such honorees as the news show “60 Minutes,” David Muir of ABC News, Steve Andrews of WFLA-TV, Lori Montenegro of Telemundo, Barbara Maushard of Hearst Television and Robert (Bob) Horner of NBC News.