A Dose of Democracy, Now

WBAI Listeners Get Their Station Back

Last week, Democracy Now! was ordered back on the Pacifica airwaves by the interim board, but only three of the five stations complied. WKPFK in Los Angeles refused to air it at its normally scheduled time of 9 a.m. (opting instead for 6 a.m.) and WBAI initially refused altogether. Perhaps they regretted that decision on Tuesday, when the show featured Rita Lasar, who lost her brother in the September 11 attacks, meeting face-to-face in the firehouse studio with Masuda Sultan, an Afghan woman who lost 19 members of her extended family to U.S. bombs. The women embraced and wept together as they exchanged sympathy and words of peace, and both called for aid to victims of U.S. bombs. Crews from NBC, CBS, Fox, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg crammed into the attic to capture the moment. "It's ironic that today the corporate media are covering this important story, while WBAI bans it from the airwaves," Goodman says. "The real losers from this censorship are the listeners."

In a phone interview last Friday, Robert Daughtry explained his decision to defy the order as best he could: "WBAI is presently not airing Democracy Now! because I have not received a legal directive to do so. Wait. Strike that. I'm not airing Democracy Now! because I have chosen not to air it. The decision is up to the station manager."

Resistance like that only confirms Goodman's sense of Pacifica's mission. It's their duty, she says, to "go to where the silence is and say something, even as we're being silenced ourselves."

Voice of the People: Amy Goodman
photo: Jay Muhlin
Voice of the People: Amy Goodman

Related article:

"WBAI = Anti-Free-Speech Radio: 'Democracy Now!' Suspended" by Nat Hentoff

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