News Release

Uproar Over Free Speech and Lockout: “Unprecedented” Stifling of Radio Station

A nationwide outcry is growing as the Pacifica Foundation continues its lockout of staff and volunteers at radio station KPFA in the San Francisco area. A week ago, the foundation’s management halted the station’s evening newscast in mid-sentence while the news anchor was reporting on the latest developments in the KPFA-Pacifica conflict. Since then, archival tapes have been airing. Among those who can be called for interviews are:

MATTHEW LASAR
Author of Pacifica Radio: The Rise of an Alternative Network (Temple University Press, 1999), Lasar said: “The Pacifica Foundation is clearly abandoning the most basic precept of community broadcasting — that those who work at and support a station have something to do with its policies. Pacifica’s actions here are unprecedented in the organization’s history.”
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AILEEN ALFANDARY
News co-director at KPFA, Alfandary said: “There are disturbing indications that Pacifica is considering the sale of KPFA’s or [New York City station] WBAI’s lucrative frequencies. Equally troubling is that Mary Frances Berry, the chair of Pacifica’s board and of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, would use her Justice Department connections in an apparent attempt to get the Berkeley police to crack down on nonviolent protesters.”

ANDREA BUFFA
Executive director of Media Alliance, a 22-year-old media accountability organization based in San Francisco, Buffa said: “The Pacifica Foundation really underestimated the breadth and depth of support for KPFA.”
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J. IMANI
A member of KPFA local advisory board, Imani said: “Berry wants to diversify Pacifica from the top down; we’ve been working to diversify it from the bottom up.”

BEN H. BAGDIKIAN
Author of The Media Monopoly, a former top editor at the Washington Post and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, Bagdikian said: “The national board has only limited time to reverse the present course of events if they wish to preserve Pacifica and what it stands for.”

MARY FRANCES BERRY
The chair of the Pacifica Foundation, Berry did not respond to IPA’s request for comment.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167