[sixties-l] Media Alliance-National Writers Union Local 3 call for Press Freedom

From: monkerud (monkerud@mail.cruzio.com)
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 00:44:57 EST

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    Call for Press Freedom in San Francisco



    It is during times of war and crisis that the importance of freedom
    of the press is most vital. During such times there is increased
    government pressure to restrict press freedom.

    It is with grave concern that we alert the public and our colleagues
    in the media of the following list of actions (see below) by the U.S.
    government that appear designed to thwart attempts to report the

    The public deserves to know about all newsworthy information
    regarding the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and
    Pentagon as well as the U.S. military actions in Afghanistan.
    We join together to remind the public that the media must report the
    truth--even when that truth challenges assertions that are made by
    the U.S. government.

    We, the undersigned journalists, editors, and media producers call on
    publishers, owners of media outlets, and our colleagues to resist
    government intimidation, restrictions on information, and direct
    censorship and to reject 'loyalty tests' and other actions which
    restrict media workers ability to act in the interest of the public's
    right to know.

    We also call on the Bush Administration to cease its overt and covert
    interference with freedom of the press.

    Please sign on below and return signed emails to alert@media-alliance.org

    Pledge Ammount.
    Email (required)
    Partial Chronology of Public Actions by U.S. Government Officials
    Restricting Information and Intimidating Press

    The statement below will be published in the Columbia Journalism
    Review, the SF Bay Guardian, web news sites and newspapers.
    Contributions for publication & circulation expenses will be accepted
    by Media Alliance and are tax deductible. A suggested donation is $35
    but no one turned away for lack of funds. Contact information will
    not be shared or published. If you so indicate, you will receive
    occasional alerts to protect the independence and openness of the


    SEPT 21 Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage blocks a news
    segment on Voice of America Radio because the report includes an
    interview with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

    SEPT 24 State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher defends
    pressure saying "We didn't think that the American taxpayer, the
    Voice of America, should be broadcasting the voice of the Taliban."

    SEPT 25 VOA ultimately aired the piece on September 25, despite State
    Department objections. According to The New York Times, more than 100
    VOA employees sent a letter to newspapers protesting that their work
    was being censored.

    SEPT 26 White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer advises the media
    and the public that people need to "watch what they say."

    OCT 2 US embassy in Qatar complains of Al Jazeera broadcasts as biased

    OCT 3 Secretary of State Colin Powell applies public pressure to the
    owner of the Al Jazeera network based in Qatar to modify their
    coverage of Sept 11, 2001 attacks saying they encourage anti-American
    sentiment in the Middle East.

    OCT 10 National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, stages a
    conference call with news executives from all five major US networks
    and wins agreement that networks will screen future broadcasts of
    statements by Osama bin Laden or suspected terrorists.

    OCT 10 White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says there's a "good
    possibility" administration officials will be talking with newspaper
    executives to similarly restrain their coverage.

    OCT 10 Secretary of State Colin Powell appears on CBS network again
    attacking Al Jazeera as biased because of the broadcast of statements
    by Osama bin Laden and his associates.

    OCT 17 The Guardian of London reports that "The Pentagon has spent
    millions of dollars to prevent western media from seeing highly
    accurate civilian satellite pictures of the effects of bombing in
    Afghanistan," When the Defense Department moved to prevent media
    access to such pictures, it did not invoke provisions of American law
    allowing "shutter control" over U.S.-launched civilian satellites in
    wartime. Instead, in order to avoid a First Amendment challenge, the
    Guardian reports, "the Pentagon bought exclusive rights to all Ikonos
    satellite pictures of Afghanistan off Space Imaging, the company
    which runs the satellite. The agreement was made retrospectively to
    the start of the bombing raids."

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