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[LAAMN-ANN] Pacifica Reporters Launch First Strike Cast

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  • Eileen Sutton
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2000 CONTACT: Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship, (212) 439-8087 Arron Glantz, Northern California, (510)
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 16, 2000
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      FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2000

      Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship, (212) 439-8087
      Arron Glantz, Northern California, (510) 644-8365, (916) 705-7528/cell
      Robin Urevich, Los Angeles, (323) 663-8057
      Eileen Sutton, New York, (212) 439-8087
      E-Mail: pnnstrikers@...
      Press Kit: http://www.savepacifica.net/strike


      NEW YORK -- Pacifica Radio's top free-lance reporters and
      contributors, who struck the Pacifica Network News on
      January 31st to fight what they say is rampant censorship
      throughout the 50-year-old community-radio network, today
      launched an alternative news broadcast. The half-hour,
      magazine-format program will be made available to the nearly
      70 affiliate stations across the country that currently air
      the Pacifica Network News (PNN). The broadcast will be
      aired via the Internet on the strikers' web page, and
      strikers hope to put up a cast at least once a week with
      stories from around the country and around the world.

      "Many of Pacifica's best-known reporters are now on strike,"
      said Eileen Sutton, one of the strike's organizers. "And we
      don't want this strike action to hurt either the sister
      stations or the affiliates in any way, so we felt offering
      an alternative to the current PNN cast would be the best
      solution for everyone," Sutton added.

      The striking reporters are backed by numerous organizations
      concerned with civil liberties, including Media Alliance,
      Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, The National Lawyers
      Guild (L.A Chapter), the National Writers Union and Project
      Censored. Over a hundred academics and scholars, including
      Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis, have also signed a petition
      supporting the strike action. All the signers have agreed
      not to give commentary to Pacifica Network News until the
      strike issues are resolved.

      Since the strike letter was delivered to management, more
      stringers have officially joined the action, while many
      reporters from around the country and around the world say
      they are unofficially honoring the strike line. One
      Pacifica-affiliate station, KCSB in Santa Barbara, has
      already stopped running PNN to protest censorship at the
      network, while other affiliates are reported to be
      considering a boycott of PNN as an act of solidarity with
      the striking reporters.

      All of the strikers' written materials, demands and actions
      have been directed toward Pacifica management. Except for a
      press release whose contact was PNN's current news director,
      to date management has not responded directly to the
      striking reporters. Strikers say repeated requests for
      written or taped responses from Executive Director Lyn
      Chadwick have also been ignored. They say a phone number
      for Chadwick has also been difficult to find.

      Pacifica has long been a bastion of free speech--from
      broadcasting Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," to defying the HUAC
      witch hunts, to airing the com-mentaries of death-row
      journalist Mumia Abu Jamal. But in light of censorship at
      Pacifica, which the Washington Post recently described as
      "cowardly radio" and "Soviet-style journalism," the striking
      journalists are demanding that Mary Frances Berry, who
      chairs both the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the
      Pacifica Foundation's National Board, publicly renounce
      censorship throughout the network, reassert the editorial
      independence of Pacifica's local and national-news divisions
      and bring back "reassigned" news director Dan Coughlin.

      The striking journalists comprise a majority of active
      contributors and reporters to Pacifica Network News, a
      daily, half-hour news program that airs on some 70 radio
      stations nationally. In a recent two-month period, nearly
      70% of Pacifica's stories came from its stringers.

      "Project Censored fully supports the strikers at Pacifica,
      who are striking not for wages, not for benefits, but for
      the freedom of information. That takes a lot of courage,
      and we applaud their attempt to make true progressive news
      available to the entire nation," said Peter Phillips,
      director of Project Censored.


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