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Proposed Pacifica Statement of Principles

From: Bob Lederer
Date: Mon May 20, 2002 11:36 pm
Subject: Proposed Pacifica Statement of Principles

This is a proposal I developed, as mentioned at an earlier by-laws meeting, with the help of a few listener and staff colleagues. I think it's absolutely critical that the by-laws include some political statements of principle, which are enforceable policies that cannot be changed at the whim of a changeable PNB.

I will present this document orally at Tuesday's (tomorrow's) by-laws meeting. This is a draft which can certainly be improved. While of course I welcome feedback, I may be unable to respond to any on-line comments this week or next, due to some intense, short-term commitments to BAI and other work. - Bob

For Inclusion in the By-laws
by Bob Lederer

The Pacifica Foundation is committed to maintaining a strong noncommercial radio network that:
- offers progressive political information and analysis as a tool for positive social, political, economic and cultural change;
- exposes injustice and inequality of all types, both nationally and internationally;
- advances the empowerment of oppressed or disenfranchised communities, populations and nations;
- respects the rights of all workers to be treated equitably and respectfully;
- promotes the most progressive currents of culture, arts and ideas
- encourages the free expression of controversial, marginalized opinions; and
- seeks to involve in its governance and operations individuals committed to these broad principles.

As such, the Foundation commits to the following fundamental guarantees:

1. The Foundation and all of its local stations, in the selection and treatment of staff, national and station board members and appointees to various bodies, and in all programming, shall operate with equity, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action in terms of race, nationality, language, religion, citizenship status, class, gender, gender identity, sexuality, age, size, and ability/disability.

2. Recognizing the centrality of racism in U.S. society and Pacifica's mission to enhance dialogue and understanding between people of different races and nationalities, the Foundation shall seek, to the greatest extent possible, to foster leadership in all of its national and local management, decision-making and advisory bodies, of people of color from a diverse range of races and nationalities.

3. The Foundation shall strive for gender parity to the greatest extent possible in all of its structures and programs.

4. All Pacifica facilities, meetings and public events shall comply with all relevant laws concerning access to disabled people.

5. Pacifica broadcasters shall have the freedom to discuss, and invite others to discuss, any topics of their choosing, including the internal business of the Foundation, with the only permissible limitations being any reasonable, clearly-defined policies the Foundation may establish to restrict personal attacks on anyone and hate speech on the basis of race, nationality, language, religion, citizenship status, class, gender, gender identity, sexuality, age, size, and ability/disability.

6. The Foundation recognizes paid and unpaid staff as employees and their right to seek union recognition under a common collective bargaining unit and to contract for their rights. Whenever the paid and/or unpaid staff of any Pacifica unit chooses to be represented by a union, the Foundation shall engage in good-faith negotiations with that union to contract for the terms and conditions of work at that unit.

7. All meetings of the Pacifica National Board and the various Station Boards, and any committees thereof, shall be open to the public, except for any discussions of litigation strategy, personnel or criminal matters that are deemed necessary to be held in closed session.

8. The Foundation shall accept no funding from for-profit corporations, and no part of the Foundation shall air any programs (except for recordings of music, film or video) that are funded, in whole or in part, by for-profit corporations.

(Note: I use the wording "for-profit corporations" to distinguish from non-profit corporations, several of which currently underwrite programming and provide direct funding to Pacifica. The wording may need to be massaged to allow the continued acceptance of donations of food by local restaurants or free computers and the like -- I am hoping that using the word "funding" rather than "donations" allows for us to continue making that distinction, but anyone with more expertise should advise me. Also, I wrote the exemption for music, film or video, since otherwise. this would seem to ban all music produced by record companies and soundclips from corporate films and videos that were played as part of reviews.)

9. The Foundation shall under no circumstances sell its rights to any of the radio frequencies in its possession.

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