Oprah to receive America's highest civilian honour

President Barack Obama is to bestow America's highest civilian honour on Oprah Winfrey and former president Bill Clinton.

The pair will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a ceremony at the White House later this year.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Credit: Reuters

The medal is presented to individuals who have made "especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavours."

Ms Winfrey and Mr Clinton will join 14 other recipients, including activist Gloria Steinem and former senator Richard Lugar. Also being honoured is Ben Bradlee, the editor who oversaw Washington Post coverage of Watergate.

Former senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut in space, will receive the medals posthumously.

President John F Kennedy created the medal of freedom in an executive order signed 50 years ago. The White House says more than 500 people have been presented with the honour to date.

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