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Volume 34
Issue 39
 
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Amy Goodman of 'Democracy Now' speaks on the importance of independent media
Amy Goodman of 'Democracy Now' speaks on the importance of independent media
by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now" was the keynote speaker on September 16th at the Northwest Community Radio Summit at Seattle's Town Hall. Representatives from community radio stations, public access television, Low Fi Fm stations and other independent media sources attended the conference, representing Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, Alaska, Oregon and Northern California.

She and her journalist brother, David Goodman, who also spoke, have co-authored their second book together entitled "Static", (which is now 18th on the New York Times bestseller list) and are on an eighty city book tour celebrating Democracy Now's tenth anniversary. The show is now broadcast on over five hundred radio and television stations around the United States.

Goodman read from her book and stressed the importance of independent, "non-embedded" media. She said that the media has the most influence today over what people think is going on in the world and that the corporate media is not presenting objective, truthful news to the American public.

She talked about the difficulty the armed forces are facing in convincing people to enlist and how they have been tempting people to join with large cash bonuses and that they are "relaxing" their moral code so that they can recruit people straight out of prison. She said that Stephen Green, who raped and killed a fourteen year old Iraqi girl and also killed her family, was one of these former convicts who were recruited out of prison.

Goodman spoke of the courage of Cindy Sheehan, who has been leading the way for grieving anti-war mothers who have lost children in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. She feels that these outspoken, fearless mothers are the future leaders of our country.

Goodman also talked about September 11th (her studio is within blocks of ground zero) and the experiences and effects of that day and beyond. In releasing their book at the five year anniversary, she and her brother are hoping to reclaim September 11th for the "voices of peace". For more information on Amy and David Goodman, or their books and "Democracy Now" visit: www.democracynow.org. Democracy Now can be heard locally on KBCS 91.3 FM.

U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada from Fort Lewis, also spoke. Lt. Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq on grounds that the Iraq War and occupation are unlawful. "As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must refuse that order", said Watada. He has been charged with "contemptuous words" towards President Bush for saying that Bush "betrayed our trust" by "misleading" us into war, and conduct unbecoming an officer.

Lt. Watada has said: "I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. Help oppose this war and end it so that all the soldiers can come home".

These charges represent the first military persecution of an objector for First Amendment speech since 1965. Including the charge for not deploying to Iraq, Lt. Watada faces over seven years in prison. For more information on Lt. Watada visit: www.ThankYouLt.org.

The Northwest Community Radio Network represents grassroots independent radio and public television media in this region. Along with larger community and college radio stations, the network is celebrating the "barn raisings" of small, community "Lo Fi" stations, which serve to unify and inform their listeners about issues of importance to them and empowering them to participate and express themselves in the process of democracy. The most recent "barn raising", which involved the concerted efforts of technology, radio, electrical, office, food preparation and construction volunteers, was for lo fi station PCUN (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United) which is: "a union of farmworkers, nursery, and reforestation workers. Based in the Willamette Valley town of Woodburn, PCUN is Oregon's largest Latino organization. PCUN's fundamental goal is to empower farmworkers to understand and take action against systematic exploitation and all of its effects. To achieve this end PCUN is involved in community and workplace organizing on many different levels".

PCUN has over five thousand registered members, most of whom are Mexican and Central American immigrants. PCUN is a Spanish language radio station. PCUN's "barn raising" was led by the Prometheus Radio Project, www.prometheusradio.org.

The Northwest Community Radio Summit was sponsored by KBCS 91.3 FM and Reclaim the Media. Please visit the following websites for more information: www.nwcommunityradio.org, www.reclaimthemedia.org, and www.kbcs.fm. For more on Pepperspray Productions Free Speech TV video programs visit: www.peppersp.server312.com.

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