Home #Hwoodtimes HFPA and LA Times Announce First Freedom Week

HFPA and LA Times Announce First Freedom Week

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural

West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/26/19 – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, has announced the inaugural LA Press Freedom Week taking place on September 16-20, 2019 at several major venues in Los Angeles.  LA Press Freedom Week is a lengthy slate of events that will spotlight conversations around the protection of the First Amendment and engage the public and the journalism community in and around Los Angeles


“As a global city and entertainment capital, Los Angeles has a unique opportunity to highlight and amplify the powerful stories that underscore the value of the First Amendment,” said Norman Pearlstine, Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Times and a CPJ board member.  “At a time when the press is under attack, we’re pleased to tell the Los Angeles community about the importance of press freedom through this series of events.”

LA Press Freedom Week will highlight the threats to a free press and show what we can all do to defend it.


“It’s critical that press freedom is kept at the forefront of our conversation and that we, as a coalition forming LA Press Freedom Week, inspire and engage the public about the value of a free press and the critical purposes that journalists serve in our democracy,” said Lorenzo Soria, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  “We are proud to work alongside such an esteemed publication as the Los Angeles Times to deepen awareness around the important issues journalists face each day.”

The list of marquee panels is included below.

Monday, 9/16 | Press Freedom and Elections, Paley Center for Media

This year saw elections unfolding around the globe in places like India, South Africa, Guatemala, and Tunisia, while in the United States, primary season began to heat up.  This conversation will explore the particular challenges for journalists and threats to press freedom and democracy that emerge around elections both around the world and in the United States.  Meher Tatna, of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will offer opening remarks in a debate moderated by Ramzi Malouki, an HFPA member who heads the US West Coast Bureau for the French Canal + Group.


Wednesday, 9/18 | Press Freedom and Diversity: Whose Voice Gets Included?, LA Central Library

Who makes the news, and for whom?  “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline NBC” anchor Lester Holt will moderate a lively discussion on the question of what diversity means in media—and how it can influence the information we read, hear, watch and share.  Los Angeles Times Editor-in-Chief, Norman Pearlstine, presents opening remarks to this conversation.


Thursday, 9/19 | Cross-Border Legal Threats to Press Freedom: The Experience of Documentarians, UCLA School of Law

Panel discussion moderated by Dale Cohen, director of the Documentary Film Legal Clinic at the UCLA School of Law, featuring documentary filmmakers and legal experts who explore the ways that laws are used to persecute and criminalize journalists who publish government secrets.  Lorenzo Soria, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will offer closing remarks.


For more in-depth coverage, please tune-in to HFPA in Conversation podcast for a six-part series on the topic of press freedom:

Additional information and details on the marquee panels and other spotlight events for the week can be found at

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.