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nettime: Pacifica Responds to WRTI

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<TITLE>Pacifica Responds to WRTI</TITLE>
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 -- Pacifica Radio is saddened to report that
Temple University has cancelled its contract with Pacifica Radio,
just minutes before new commentaries by Pennsylvania death row
inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal were set to air on Pacifica's daily public
affairs program Democracy Now!.  These are the only commentaries
by Abu-Jamal since 1994 when National Public Radio decided not to
broadcast (or release to Pacifica) commentaries it commissioned,
a decision that fueled a nationwide controversy over censorship,
the death penalty, and public broadcasting funding.
     "We are deeply concerned and disappointed that Temple
University has cancelled Democracy Now! and pulled all Pacifica
programming from the airwaves," said Julie Drizin, Executive
Producer. "We know this is a serious loss for tens of thousands
of listeners who have come to appreciate and support JAZZ-FM for
airing Pacifica programs.  Something is deeply wrong with the
fact that voters in the state of Pennsylvania will no longer have
the rare opportunity to hear the voice of a man their government
is planning to execute in their name.  It's politically motivated
censorship, pure and simple, and a move sure to raise questions
about Temple University's commitment to academic and journalistic
      Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former public radio reporter (WHYY
Philadelphia) and Black Panther who was convicted in the 1981
shooting death of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
He has been on death row for 15 years.
     The Prison Radio Project recorded these 13 commentaries just
10 days before the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections banned
journalists from videotaping, audio recording or photographing
any inmates.  Similar crackdowns on media access to prisons are
taking place in other states.
     In these commentaries, Mumia Abu-Jamal addresses topics
including: Life on Death Row, Rap Music's place in African
American Culture, South Africa and the Death Penalty, Police
Brutality, reflections on his parents, and the experiences of
fatherless young black men behind bars.
     "Pacifica radio unequivocally asserts that Mumia Abu-Jamal
has the fundamental and inalienable right to write these
commentaries without harassment and intimidation from prison
authorities, that the Prison Radio Project has the 1st amendment
right to record Mumia Abu-Jamal reading these essays face-to-face
without undue burdens, that Pacifica Radio has the absolute right
to broadcast these commentaries without political interference or
threats, and that the American public has a right to hear them
and make their own decisions.  That's what it means to live in a
democracy," said Drizin.
     As a national radio network, Pacifica takes no position on
the guilt or innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, but the network
considers its decision to air his prison writings as the latest
chapter in Pacifica's 50-year tradition of advancing the cause of
freedom of the press -- a tradition that has benefitted all
journalists in this country.
     Mumia Abu-Jamal's commentaries are airing on Pacifica's
cutting-edge daily public affairs program Democracy Now!, carried
on public radio stations around the U.S, including the 5 Pacifica
stations:  WBAI-New York, WPFW- Washington D.C., KPFK-Los
Angeles, KPFA-Berkeley and KPFT-Houston.
     If the state of Pennsylvania prevails in suppressing Mumia
Abu-Jamal's voice and ultimately executing him, these tapes could
be the last recorded works of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

     "If Mumia Abu-Jamal has nothing important to say, why
      are so many powerful people trying to shut him up?"

                                   - John Edgar Wideman

PHONE NUMBERS FOR TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, which cancelled all Pacifica
programming on Monday, February 24, 1997 in response to Democracy
Now's broadcast of commentaries by Mumia Abu-Jamal.

phone 215-204-7405
fax 215-204-5799
     Berk Street at Park
     Sullivan Hall, Suite 200
     Philadelphia PA 19122

University Relations
phone (215) 204-8561
     302 University Service Building
     Temple University
     Philadelphia, PA  19122

phone:  215-204-8405
fax 215-204-4870
     Temple University Public Radio
     1st floor, Annenberg Hall
     Philadelphia, PA 19122


<center><IMAGE BORDER=1 SRC="../../images/branchsm.gif">
<A HREF="index.html">Mumia Abu-Jamal On Pacifica</i></A><br>
<A HREF="../index.html">Democracy NOW!</i></A><br>
<A HREF="../../index.html">Pacifica Home Page</A><br>



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