Media Alliance Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 1, 1999
Andrea Buffa 415-546-6334 x309
Dave Adelson 310-392-0459
AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST BANNED FROM PROGRESSIVE RADIO STATION KPFK FOR EXERCISING FREE SPEECH RIGHTS
The crisis at the Pacifica network spreads to Los Angeles, as the California Legislative Audit Committee continues its investigation of the Pacifica Foundation.
Los Angeles, CAčAward-winning journalist Robin Urevich was banned from local radio station KPFK for an article she wrote for another publication. KPFK has come under fire for previous incidents of censorship, which Urevich documented in an article for Random Lengths. KPFK is part of the Pacifica Foundation, the nonprofit parent organization of five listener-sponsored radio stations nationwide. At KPFK¹s sister station, KPFA in Berkeley, journalists were fired for violating the station¹s ³gag rule,² and one journalist was pulled off the air by armed guards in July, which led to close to 100 arrests of outraged community members and a month-long lockout at the station. The California Legislative Audit Committee is investigating whether the Pacifica Foundation has misused listener funds; and a lawsuit filed against the organization by local station advisory board members is pending.
³Any decent news outlet will respect the first amendment rights of its journalists. With this action, KPFK management has brought enormous shame to itself and to the Pacifica Foundation,² said Norman Solomon, a nationally-syndicated media columnist and media critic.
Urevich was a freelancer and volunteer news producer at KPFK for six years. She also works as a journalist for Latino USA and the California Report of KQED-FM. Urevich won the Golden Mic award for best reporting by a network for a story she produced for Pacifica Network News.
In her article for Random Lengths, Urevich described KPFK management¹s censorship of two national radio shows, CounterSpin and Democracy Now, when those shows covered the crisis at KPFA in Berkeley. ³In Southern California, KPFK listeners could read about the crisis on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, and in other major newspapers. But, they found little information on their own station. Management clumsily tried to keep it under wraps,² Urevich wrote.
Today KPFK Station Manager Mark Schubb told Urevich that because of the article, she would have to leave the station and would no longer be welcome there.
³I¹m appalled. Robin Urevich
is know for her high quality journalism in both the English and Spanish-speaking
communities. In addition to the most critical issue here, which is that
of freedom of expression, I am also, as
a member of the Latino community, very concerned that at KPFK there has been a systematic expulsion of programmers who can communicate with the Latino/Latina community and represent community concerns at the station,² said Lydia Brazon, executive director of the Humanitarian Law Project and a member of the KPFK local advisory board.
³Robin is one of the top journalists
at KPFK, and it¹s stunning that they would choose to remove a persončnot
for violating the gag ruleč but for publishing an article about matters
vitally affecting the community. It appears that the gag rule extends beyond
the walls of KPFK to any activity whatsoever,² said Dave Adelson,
acting chair of the KPFK local advisory board.