Democracy Now! Update

Judging Amy: Democracy Not!

Although rumors inevitably sprout and morph on the internet, there is no question that Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman is under pressure to change the content of her program. During the most recent Pacifica Board meeting, Democracy Now! was criticized for focusing on certain topics (Lori Berenson, U.S. Policy in Colombia, the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal). In addition, Pacifica management has also made Goodman's day-to-day work more difficult -- such as rejecting her choices about who to hire as producers and withholding Democracy Now's press passes at the Democratic Convention in LA.

These actions run counter to Pacifica's mission of providing alternative information and viewpoints, as well as Pacifica management's claim that it wants to strengthen the network's national programming. Democracy Now! has done incredible work over the last five years and listeners across the country have responded enthusiastically. Following is a letter signed by hundreds of Democracy Now! listeners which calls on Pacifica to change its ways and support Amy Goodman's important work.

Thanks for your attention,
Matt Martin
Free Speech Radio News

A Letter to Pacifica Executive Director Bessie Wash and Pacifica board members:

We are deeply offended by management attempts to dilute the confrontational and controversial spirit of what has become Pacifica's signature program, Democracy Now. We are further alarmed to note that this unethical and inappropriate pressure is being exercised against Amy Goodman and Democracy Now by the same governing organization that earlier sought to silence progressive voices by firing long-time Pacifica National Affairs correspondent Larry Bensky, and forcing the departure of bureau chief Dan Coughlin and news anchor Verna Avery Brown from the Pacifica Network News.

We have heard reports that some in Pacifica's management believe listeners would rather not hear about conditions in Peruvian prisons or the US financed drug war in Colombia as they are waking up in the morning. And, we've learned that some have criticized Goodman's "in your face" style. Those issues, and their bold and intelligent presentation, are precisely what has made Democracy Now a well-known and well-respected national program, and unfortunately, the only one left on Pacifica's national airwaves.

We are further disturbed by reports of management attempts to force Democracy Now host Amy Goodman to file stories for Pacifica Network News. PNN's freelance reporters are on strike, and it is wrong to attempt to coerce an employee to cross their picket line, or to act against her conscience. Pacifica should know better. As listener-sponsors, we demand that you deal with the strike directly by negotiating with the striking reporters. Once again, your interference in editorial decision making is wrong, at best, and at worst, constitutes censorship.

As listener-sponsors, we will not tolerate any attempts to water down the substance of Democracy Now, to force Goodman to alter her style, or to try to force her to cross a picket line.

Please respond as to your plans in this matter.

Sincerely,
SIGNED BY MORE THAN 300 DEMOCRACY NOW! LISTENERS FROM A DOZEN STATES

The list of signers

If you'd like to join them, please contact: Save Democracy Now!