Appeal from Noam Chomsky for Free Speech Radio News
July 4, 2001
Thank you for a moment of your time.
You may know that in January, 2000, dozens of freelance reporters
from across the Americas, Europe and Asia went on strike against
Pacifica Network News (PNN) to protest a wave of censorship
engulfing the nation's oldest, listener-sponsored radio network.
This labor action is part of a broader, national effort involving
thousands to save Pacifica from an elite, corporate-style take-
over from the top.
The stringers demand that Pacifica return to its founding
principles: free speech, editorial independence and true
grassroots, noncorporate coverage of urgent social and political
issues. They also demand the freedom to report on the
controversies within the network itself.
Hoping to compete with the corporate drift in PNN's content, the
strikers also began producing Free Speech Radio News, a half-hour,
alternative newscast. Over 70 reporters from twenty American
states and six continents now file stories with FSRN, heard coast
to coast on 48 community radio stations from Seattle to Little
Rock, Santa Barbara to Boston. FSRN is also carried globally via
short wave and over the Internet.
The 20-month-old cast regularly features breaking stories and
crucial investigative pieces often absent from the corporate press
and PNN. Features have included:
Controversies surrounding U.S. drug companies and AIDS
medications in Africa;
The Palestinian Intifada and Israeli military occupation, seen
from inside Gaza Strip refugee camps;
The Zapatistas' historic caravan from Chiapas to their historic
rally in Mexico City;
A controversial U.S. railway project for transporting cheap coal,
amid environmental calls for less use of fossil fuels;
Nigeria's resistance to IMF policies making cooking and heating
fuel unaffordable for the working class in this oil-rich country.
These are vital stories, but they will continue to be heard only
if you lend support.
Producing and distributing Free Speech Radio News costs roughly
$30,000 monthly. Many of FSRN's striking reporters - some of the
finest alternative journalists in community broadcasting - have
made serious financial sacrifices to participate in this strike
and support the struggle to reclaim Pacifica.
Verna Avery-Brown, veteran PNN host forced out in December of
1999, is now anchoring. Many of the stations carrying FSRN are
Pacifica affiliates, and many have cancelled PNN to air the strike
FSRN started as a weekly effort, but recently starting
broadcasting daily to put maximum pressure on Pacifica's national
board. And that pressure is working. The striking reporters are
hoping to go to a 3rd month of daily programs, but they can't do
it without you. Your donation is needed right now to keep the
Pacifica struggle and Free Speech Radio News alive. Please honor
the integrity of these reporters and show your commitment to the
survival of truly independent, critical media.
Your donation of any size will be greatly appreciated. Checks can
be made payable to the Agape Foundation with the words "Pacifica
Reporters Against Censorship" on the memo line and mailed to
Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship, c/o Kevin Brower, 2210
Curtis Street, Apt. A, Berkeley, CA 94702. All contributions are
tax deductible. If you have questions, would like to hear the cast
or pledge a monthly amount, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or
go to www.fsrn.org.
Please do it today.
P.S.: Again, these striking reporters need your support. The
strike against PNN has been one of the most historic acts of
resistance since the fight to save Pacifica began. Help keep truly
free and independent media a reality by supporting Free Speech
Radio News. If Pacifica is lost, the silence will be deafening.
Any amount you give will do a great deal.
For more information, contact:
- 184 Labor