Statement from Marty Fishgold,
International Labor Communications Association (ILCA)

March 30, 2004

    The image of American soldiers shutting down and padlocking the doors
on Sunday of a popular newspaper in Baghdad, Al Hawza, must send chills down
the spine of anyone who believes that freedom of the press is one of the
bedrocks of democracy.
    Under orders from the Bush Administration's proconsul, Paul Bremer III,
the Shiite weekly was shut down for 60 days for allegedly printing false
anti-American rumors that stirred up hatred, undermined stability, and
indirectly incited violence.
     If these allegations are enough to shut down media, many newspapers,
television programs, and radio talk shows in this country run by the likes
of Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Oliver North would surely qualify for a
    Fortunately, freedom of the press and media democracy still count in
this country.  Tomorrow, Air America will launch a series of progressive
radio talks shows hosted by Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, Laura Flanders,
Robert Kennedy Jr. and others to counter the reactionary talk radio hosts
that have dominated the airwaves on stations controlled by a shrinking
number of corporate owners like Clear Channel.  This is the direction we
must go in, toward alternative media owned and democratically operated by
progressive organizations like unions, environmental groups, and community
and independent organizations.  That is the only way we can insure that
different points of view are voiced and discussed, and that the doors of
media organizations will never be padlocked in this country.

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