Pacifica Network News Strike

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. Dear Friends, 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 cast. 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 pnnstrikers@igc.org or go to www.fsrn.org. Please do it today.



In solidarity,

Noam Chomsky