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by Celia Alario and Brett Doran
Thursday, Feb. 08, 2001 at 11:57 PM
FREE PACIFICA! Citizens Support Free Speech while Epstein Becker and Green Attorney Prepares for Hostile Takeover with New By-law Proposal
Contact: Brett Doran (310) 392-7656; Vince Ivory or Tracy Larkins (cell) (310) 283-6039
PACIFICA SUPPORTERS TO MURDOCK: STOP THIEF!
Citizens Support Free Speech while Epstein Becker and Green Attorney Prepares for Hostile Takeover with New By-law Proposal
Century City, CA ~ In the latest action in the burgeoning nationwide campaign to reclaim the Pacifica Radio Network for the community, a new coalition of 90.7 KPFK listeners and grassroots organizations from across Los Angeles spoke out today for free speech, calling for the resignation of Pacifica National Board Member John Murdock with a colorful visit to the LA offices of his law firm Epstein Becker and Green (EBG).
The event was cosponsored by: Action Resource Center, KPFK Listener Lab Alliance, and Pacifica Accountability Committee, and endorsed by Aztlan Media Center, Coalition Against Police Abuse, BAYAN International-USA, East Timor Action Network-LA, Office of the Americas. Listeners, volunteer programmers and staff of Pacifica stations around the country are mobilizing to thwart attempts by Pacifica Board members at a centralized power grab, which could result in increased censorship and possibly the sale of listener-sponsored Pacifica Radio stations.
John Murdock, an attorney from the Washington DC office of Epstein, Becker and Green, was added to the Pacifica Board of Directors last year. He has since taken a leadership role in proposing new by-laws for Pacifica which would allow a small number of directors to sell off Pacifica assets (including stations), ban Local Advisory Board (LAB) members from serving on the national board, and allow directors like Murdock to receive compensation for actions like changing the bylaws-- a move community members and Pacifica stakeholders see as a blatant conflict of interest.
Pacifica supporters believe that the threat to the Pacifica Radio Network will be lifted only when the current Board of Directors is reconstituted by removing members like Murdock. EBG specializes in "maintaining a union-free workplace" and is representing the Pacifica Foundation in lawsuits that have been filed against the board by concerned listeners.
Today’s demonstration featured giant puppets representing Murdock as a thief, stealing public radio for personal profit, and censored Pacifica programmers. Later in the day, an eight-person delegation attempted to meet with representatives from Epstein Becker and Green and was met by guards. The ‘Billionaires for More Media Mergers’, (cousins of Billionaires for Bush or Gore) performed ‘Let’s Buy Pacifica’ (to the tune of God Bless America) for Murdock’s coworkers through locked doors.
Today's demonstration at the Los Angeles offices of Epstein Becker & Green is the latest in a growing campaign to pressure certain Pacifica Foundation board members to resign from their posts. Murdock and other Pacifica leaders supported a hostile take-over at WBAI radio in New York, in which the management fired and banned several journalists from the station, changed the locks to the station in the middle of the night, and have now imposed a gag rule on the staff.
The gag rule has been adopted locally at KPFK, where local programmers have been terminated or threatened with termination for exercising their freedom of speech in talking about the Pacifica struggle. Many long time programmers have resigned in objection to the censorship by Pacifica management
Grassroots organizations and the Los Angeles listening community are committed to challenging censorship and the gag rule at KPFK, and have vowed to continue demonstrations until democratic and corporate-free decision making structures are reinstated throughout Pacifica.
(The full text of the proposed by-laws changes can be found at www.radio4all.org/freepacifica or www.savepacifica.net)
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