California Green Party endorses resolution to democratize Pacifica

Date sent:       Sat, 26 Jun 1999 01:52:10 -0800


The Green Party of California has observed with growing concerns, the escalating problems between listener-supported radio station KPFA of Berkeley, California and its owner,the non-profit Pacifica Foundation.

Pacifica's actions of the last few months have angered listeners, supporters and KPFA's paid and volunteer staff. Among those actions are the refusal to renew the contract of former KPFA General Manager Nicole Sawaya, the imposition of a "gag rule" which prohibits KPFA personnel from discussing "internal issues" on the air, the firing of 30-year veteran Pacifica journalist Larry Bensky for violating that gag rule, and the latest action, on June 18, 1999, of canceling 20-year KPFA programmer
Robbie Osman's Sunday morning program "Across the Great Divide." The reason given once again was Mr. Osman's discussion of "internal personnel matters on the air."

A major demonstration on June 20,1999 protesting the firing of Robbie Osman, resulted in the arrests of 9 people. Local labor unions and other groups, including the Alameda County Green Party, the San Francisco Green Party,and the San Mateo County Green Party, have passed resolutions in solidarity.

KPFA listeners have responded by making their pledges "under protest" during the recent pledge drive, with a torrent of faxes, e-mails and telephone calls, and with daily picketing of the Pacifica office in Berkeley.

The Green Party of California commends KPFA's listeners for their activism in support of free speech and community radio, and encourages them to continue their struggles to ensure the continuation of KPFA's ability to provide progressive, uncensored programming for the community.

The Green Party of California endorses the original resolution passed unanimously by the KPFA Local Advisory Board, ". . . to democratize Pacifica."

The Green Party of California urges Pacifica Foundation to:

1. Engage in independent mediation with KPFA to resolve the issues underlying their dispute.

2. As a gesture of good faith and to improve the chances of a successful mediation, to lift the "gag rule" and to reinstate those who have been fired for violating it.

3. To strongly consider the re-employment of Nicole Sawaya as General Manager.

4. To once again embrace its rich history as a beacon of free speech and listener supported news and information not readily available in current conglomorate media.

Nancy Marmol and John C.Strawn
Spokespersons for
The Green Party of California
(415) 695-1726 or
(805) 682-4050

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