April 24, 2001
Miscellaneous Subjects 77: 1. Protesting the Trade in Lies and Violence + 2. TRADING BLOWS OVER WHETHER TRADING BLOWS + 3. Report from the medics + 4. Injury and arrest reports mount as situation calms down + 5. FRONTLINE Bulletin: Harvest of Fear - on biotech food products + 6. LIFE OF THE PLANET---WATER---BEING COMPROMISED + 7. New Theory on AIDS Origin Explains Chimpanzee/Vaccine Connection + 8. CRUSADING JOURNALISTS AMONG THIS YEAR'S GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZE WINNERS + 9. PR Watch Congratulates Akre & Wilson
The news from the Summit of the Americas made headlines around the world over the weekend with pictures of the violent repression of protests by riot police, with billowing clouds of unbearably irritating tear gases, water cannon action, a barrier being thrown down by a group of protesters fully equipped to confront the police, and possibly also some pictures of the 60,000 demonstrators who marched peacefully in downtown Quebec City to oppose the whole idea of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Of course there were also lots of coverage of the 34 leaders at the Summit, studiously playing the carefully choreographed show of consensual unity to march ahead this FTAA project -- denounced by many as a reincarnation of the infamous Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) derailed in Seattle a couple years ago -- all this under the guise of creating an economic commonwealth in the 3 Americas, with now the added condition that only so-called "democratic" nations will qualify to be in the club.
The story that even the Quebec media failed to report, despite an extensive and generally balanced coverage of the event, was the extraordinary brutality of the police forces that targetted peaceful demonstrators with dangerous rubber and plastic bullets, a riot-control weapon used for the first time in Canada, sending dozens of young people in hospital and arresting over 450 people during the weekend. On the other side of the barriers, several police officiers were also hurt, some seriously, as a result of all kinds of objects thrown at them by a tiny minority of violent protesters.
Much more details on all this below in articles taken from the Quebec Independent Media Center website (http://www.cmaq.net/) and the Yahoo Full Coverage at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/Business/Trade/
Make sure to read also about the GMO report "Harvest of Fear: A Frontline/Nova Special" to be broadcast today - Tuesday evening - on PBS from 9 pm to 11 pm (East Coast time) -- see #5 below.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
P.S. See also my comments in French on the FTAA Summit at http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/BilanSommet.htm
Protesting the Trade in Lies and Violence (2001-04-21)
"This is what democracy looks like". A common chant in large protests nowadays, revealing the creativity and freedom of diverse peoples converging to celebrate their unity, reclaim streets, and envision a better future. So what might democracy look like or feel like in Canada today? Thousands of protestors found out on April 20th during the Day of Action organized by Anti-Capitalist Convergence to mark the opening day of the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. Opposed to the neo-liberal policies at the heart of the proposed Free Trade Summit of the Americas (FTAA), thousands of activists from North and South America found out what form democracy currently takes in Canada: the stinging of eyes after repeated tear gas canisters were shot by thousands of assembled police; the restriction on movement, after the government erected a 4-kilometre long barricade enclosing trade negotiators; and the arrest of several activists by officers for daring to express dissent.
Odd then, that George Bush, the president of the United States, and Jean Chretien, the prime minister of Canada, continue to bleat their unproven mantra that free trade enhances democracy. On the opening day of the summit, Bush said that "Together, we will put forward an agenda to strengthen our democracies, to tackle common challenges, and we will seek to expand our prosperity by expanding our trade. Our goal in Quebec is to build a hemisphere of liberty. We must approach this goal in the spirit of civility, mutual respect and appreciation for our shared values". Commenting on the destruction of property- not violence to other humans- done by a minority of the protestors, Chretien said "The actions of a few extremists this afternoon are contrary to the democratic principles we all hold dear".
The activist response is this: What kind of "democratic principles" is Canada upholding by heavily promoting Canadian corporate investment in repressive countries such as Indonesia, Sudan and China? In particular, how democratic is it to give taxpayer funded loan guarantees, subsidies, and political support to corporations through the Export Development Corporation, that have ended up usurping Third World populations for hydro, mineral, and energy development? Similarly, Bush's vow to respect others and create a "hemisphere of liberty" would be nice if it weren't so transparently false; neoliberal policies pushed upon poor South American companies by the IMF and World Bank in the past two decades have made Haiti, Nicaragua, and Mexico ideal places for American corporate sweatshops that often have draconian and coercive working conditions. As one of the signs in the Day of Action expressed, the FTAA (ZLEA in French) is the "Zone de Libre-Exploitation des Ameriques".
At this point in the evolution of international protests against economic globalization, there have been enough facts and figures trotted out to thoroughly disprove any rational claim that such policies will create lasting conditions of prosperity, liberty, and stability. Seeing that their conventional statements do not work anymore, free trade proponents are thrashing about wildly for a response; sometimes they try slipping the usual lies past activists, other times they try character assassination, complete fabrications, and unproven claims. It is in this way that activists and others concerned about globalization can be dismissed as anarchists, hooligans, ignorant fools and party-goers.
The Day of Action in Quebec City put liberalization proponents on alert by asserting that activists are not going to accept the elite control of economies any longer and that globalization will be challenged for a long time to come. A sign at the Day of Action best expressed the attitude towards people such as Bush and Chretien, using the French acronym for the WTO, OMC: "Organisation Mondiale des Crosseurs"- the World Organization of the Deceptive. Not only at meetings of the global economy's architects- the WTO, IMF, World Bank- will such actions be challenged, but in factories, fields, and classrooms the world over. Another sign put it more simply: "Attention: Le Monde N'est Pas Une Marchandise"- Attention: The World is not for Sale.
Ajay Gandhi firstname.lastname@example.org
23 Apr 2001
TRADING BLOWS OVER WHETHER TRADING BLOWS
As police tear gassed and fired rubber bullets and water cannons at protesters in Quebec this weekend, President Bush spoke inside the protected halls of a conference center and told the other leaders from the Western Hemisphere that "open trade must be matched by a strong commitment to protecting our environment and improving labor standards." But Bush offered no specifics on how such a commitment would be implemented. Many Democrats argue that countries joining trade pacts with the U.S. should at a minimum be prevented from lowering their environmental and labor standards in order to attract foreign investment. Police estimated that at least 20,000 protesters were in Quebec to demonstrate against globalization and the Free Trade Area of the Americans.
Washington Post, Paul Blustein, 23 Apr 2001
New York Times, Anthony DePalma, 22 Apr 2001
New York Times, Michael M. Weinstein, 22 Apr 2001
A week in the life of an activist in Quebec -- David Waskow, Friends of the Earth
Report from the medics
Ari R 2001-04-21
According to street medic and clinition, Doc Rosen, this is some of the worst police brutality he has ever seen. He said the police are acting with more violence than N30 in Seattle. The medics have been treating many burns, broken bones, tear gas related injuries, head injuries, and even a C-Spine injury from a rubber bullet. The QC police are intentionally aiming tear gas canisters and plastic bullets at peoples heads, beating people, shooting them with water cannons, and just being brutal in general.
HERE IS A GOOD REPORT FROM GROUND ZERO GIVING A GOOD SAMPLE OF THE HARSH POLICE REPRESSION IN QUEBEC CITY.
INJURY AND ARREST REPORTS MOUNT AS SITUATION CALMS DOWN
By Cliff Pearson, co-chair Green Party of Dallas County Dallas, Texas USA (2001-04-22)
(QUEBEC CITY, Quebec) - The state of emergency declared last night for the headquarters of CMAQ, the Quebec Independent Media Center, has been rescinded.
At approximately 10:44 p.m. EDT, members of the Quebec Legal Collective, a group of attorneys volunteering their services to protesters, arrived at the newsroom in case CMAQ personnel required legal assistance.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. EDT, approximately 20 riot police fired rubber bullets down the stairs into the CMAQ foyer, injuring one activist. He suffered wounds to his leg and was treated at the scene by medics. CMAQ staff and reporters responded to the police assault by barricading the doors.
By 11:06 p.m. EDT, the police retreated down Rue Cote d'Abraham to confront protesters.
At 11:24 p.m. EDT, CMAQ had to block the doors with clothes and blankets to prevent tear gas -- presumably fired at the activists -- from seeping into the newsroom.
At 12:57 a.m. EDT, CMAQ reporters confirmed via eyewitnesses that the Medical Center had been tear-gassed by riot police. The clinic was moved to the CMAQ building.
As of 1:29 a.m. EDT -- Sunday, April 22, 2001 -- CMAQ staffers confirmed that the young man shot in the throat with a plastic bullet last night is in critical but stable condition at St. Foy Hospital in Quebec City, Quebec.
Other reports of serious injuries and police brutality continued to mount all last night and this morning and afternoon. People who had attended the previous protests in Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia continue to insist that the situation here is worse than all prior protests.
One of the more serious reports is that a man suffered eye injuries after being struck in the face by shrapnel from an exploding tear gas canister.
The Quebec Legal Collective reports confirmation that more than 30 canisters of "noxious gases," such as tear gas and pepper spray, were fired in various places in the city last night.
Besides gassing, many of the acts of police brutality include the firing of rubber and plastic bullets at protesters. Quebec Legal Collective observers have collected whole bullets and shells from the ground.
The legal team also reports the use of metal "bean bags" shot from police weapons. Additionally, there is one confirmed report of a man with a broken arm hit by a tear gas canister reportedly fired at close range (less than one meter, or two feet).
As for arrests, the Quebec Legal Collective confirmed -- by receiving calls from jailed prisoners themselves -- a total of 430 arrested protesters. Of these, 250 were arrested between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m last night.
Most of the arrests took place near Rue St. Joseph and Rue de l'Couronne. These streets are several city blocks from the security perimeter and are supposedly in designated "green" zones -- areas of low-risk of arrest, where no illegal behavior was to take place.
Some of the protesters arrested yesterday and Friday have been released. The charges are varied, and are mostly for minor infractions such as criminal mischief and "being suspect," a dubious term that does not appear to be a legal criminal charge.
Patrick Deschenes, the missing roommate of my Canadian host, has still not been positively located. But at approximately 8:00 a.m. EDT, our host, Sarah Gognan, was told that others of her friends arrested in the same incident are now out of jail. These friends confirmed that Mr. Deschenes is in the jail.
Jaggi Singh, the activist reported kidnapped by police on Friday, is still in jail and police say he will not be released until Wednesday, April 25, 2001. Police have not said why he will be detained so long.
At 1:30 p.m. EDT this afternoon, an attorney from the Quebec Legal Collective came to the CMAQ newsroom to announce that he is filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of those who have suffered civil rights abuses and police brutality. He is looking for victims of police brutality to interview.
The Quebec Legal Collective reports they have received more than 30 reports of people being detained on the streets and questioned by riot police.
They also report they have spoken with and received reports that many vans, buses, and cars have been stopped. Reports include incidents of police unlawfully demanding identification from all passengers in cars, unlawful searches of people on the street who are not under arrest and do not consent to the search, and the ticketing of people who have tear gas masks -- none of which are illegal acts under the Canadian Charter of Government.
Additionally, the Quebec Legal Collective reports numerous eyewitness reports of over a dozen "targeted arrests" of protesters. Police have made targeted, pre-planned arrests of specific people, without regard to their current actions -- presumably as "preventive arrests."
For example, the legal team reports three police cars pulled up on the side of the road, jumped out and tackled a person to the ground. In another situation witnessed by legal observers, two undercover police vans picked up three people as they were walking peacefully by a gas station.
Finally, the legal team reports that more than 300 people from the United States were turned back at the border attempting to enter Canada. People turned back had their personal belongings (including phonebooks, literature, and journals) photocopied and were interrogated about their political beliefs and activities before they were turned away. Over 15 people were detained at the New York and Vermont borders and have not yet been released.
Actions today are decidedly calmer so far. Activists are apparently centering their attention around "solidarity protests" outside the Orsainville prison, the Quebec City facility where those arrested last night are currently jailed. Protesters are shouting outside the prison walls for the unconditional release of all the remaining protesters who are imprisoned.
There are no scheduled actions planned for the security perimeter fence, as there were yesterday, but there are reports of tear gassings at Rene Levesque near the site of yesterday's initial fence destruction. CMAQ independent reporters have been dispatched to investigate.
Reporting from the protest in Quebec City, I'm Cliff Pearson, Quebec IMC.
See also "The benefits of Summit Hopping" at
Subject: FRONTLINE Bulletin - Harvest of Fear - about biotech food products
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001
From: FRONTLINE bulletin <email@example.com>
Virus proof papayas. Edible in-a-banana vaccines. Pest resistant crops. Super fast growing salmon. These are some of the current and future pay offs of genetic modification of food.
But are you wary of biotech food products? Maybe wondering why Europe is so skittish about them? Do you know how much genetically modified food is already on U.S. grocery shelves?
FRONTLINE and NOVA's joint report "Harvest of Fear"--this Tuesday April 24--explores the intensifying debate over this new technology. It interviews top scientists, biotechnology critics, farmers, food industry and regulatory agency representatives to present both sides of the controversy. And it tells some compelling stories about the breakthroughs of this technology, the potential unintended consequences, and the fierce opposition in some quarters.
"Basically, this is a story about the increasing power of science to alter our world and the fear this power generates," says producer Jon Palfreman. "The fact that the story is about food-a subject about which people have entrenched opinions, tastes, and beliefs-makes it that much more controversial."
Next Tuesday, FRONTLINE and NOVA disentangle the fight over genetically modified food-
the risks...the benefits..the hopes..and the fears. It's April 24th at 9pm - ON PBS
More preview details: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/ (EXCELLENT!)
THIS IS A TASTE OF WHAT IS TO HAPPEN IF THE CURRENT PRO-CORPORATE BRAND OF FREE TRADE IS INCLUDED IN THE FINAL VERSION OF THE FTAA
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001
From: BILL D <firstname.lastname@example.org>
LIFE OF THE PLANET---WATER---BEING COMPROMISED
Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, Canada's largest public advocacy group, states, "Governments around the world must act now to declare water a fundamental human right and prevent efforts to privatize, export, and sell for profit a substance essential to all life.
Research has shown that selling water on the open market only delivers it to wealthy cities and individuals. The finite sources of freshwater (less than one half of one per cent of the world's total water stock) are being diverted, depleted, and polluted so fast that, by the year 2025, two-thirds of the world's population will be living in a state of serious water deprivation."
Governments are signing away their control over domestic water supplies by participating in trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and in institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). These agreements give transnational corporations the unprecedented right to the water of signatory companies.
Monsanto plans to earn revenues of $420 million and a net income of $63 million by 2008 from its water business in India and Mexico. Monsanto estimates that water will become a multibillion-dollar market in the coming decades.
This international water crisis news story was selected by over 150 faculty and student researchers at Sonoma State University's Project Censored in California as the number one most censored news story for 2000.
Credit for original reporting goes to: International Forum on Globalization: Special Report 6/99, The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World's Water Supply by Maude Barlow http://www.ifg.org/bgsummary.html
In These Times, Water Fallout: Bolivians Battle Globalization 5/15/00 by Jim Shultz http://www.inthesetimes.com
Canadian Dimension, 2/2000, Monsanto's Billion-Dollar Water Monopoly Plans by Vandana Shiva
Canadian Dimension, 2/00, Water Fallout,
by Jim Shultz San Francisco Bay Guardian, 5/31/00
Trouble on Tap,
by Daniel Zoll
San Francisco Bay Guardian, 5/31/00, The Earth Wrecker, by Pratap Chatterjee.
Peter Phillips Ph.D. Sociology Department/Project Censored
From: Leonard G. Horowitz <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, April 16,
Subject: New Theory on AIDS Origin Explains Chimpanzee/Vaccine Connection
Contact: Elaine Zacky--208/265-2575; 800/336-9266
New Theory On AIDS Origin Explains Chimpanzee Connection
London: A new twist on the theory that vaccines may have triggered the AIDS pandemic is advanced in the May 2001 issue of the scientific journal of Medical Hypotheses by an independent investigator and author of a bestselling book on the subject, Dr. Leonard Horowitz. The report explains for the first time the link beween the human AIDS virus, HIV, and the chimpanzee immunodeficiency virus. Scientists who previously advanced the possibility that polio vaccines may have contributed to the initial African outbreak must take heed. This new theory proposes that HIV/AIDS was triggered by hepatitis B (HB) vaccines, partly developed in chimpanzees, given to gay men in New York City and Blacks in central Africa during the mid-1970s among persons who received suspected polio vaccines a decade earlier. Dr. Horowitz, who holds a post-doctoral degree in public health from Harvard, presented his preliminary findings at the XI International Conference on AIDS in Vancouver in 1996. Last November, his controversial thesis attracted a standing room only audience in Boston at the annual American Public Health Association conference. The subject of a forthcoming BBC documentary, his publication in Medical Hypotheses underlies widespread suspicions, especially among minority populations, that HIV/AIDS was vaccine induced. Based on a three year study of the pandemic's origin, Dr. Horowitz determined that risky pilot HB vaccine trials involved growing hepatitis viruses in chimpanzees commonly known to be contaminated with retroviruses related to HIV. These findings scientifically explain for the first time how the chimpanzee AIDS virus (SIVcpz), closely related to HIV's gene sequence, suddenly jumped species to humans simultaneously on two far removed continents. Four lots of HB vaccine containing 200,000 human doses, believed to be contaminated with gene sequences common to HIV/SIVcpz, were prepared by passing live HB viruses, grown in chimpanzees, to polio vaccine recipients previously exposed to monkey cancer viruses already suspected of playing a role in initiating AIDS. The final preparations were injected into gay men in New York City and Blacks in Central Africa between 1974 and 1975. According to several investigators, this may best explain how and why there was a sudden simultaneous outbreak of at least four major HIV strains, on two far removed continents, in two demographically distinct populations, in the late 1970s, corresponding to the only complete virus discoveries.
These disclosures come at a time of heightened concern regarding the risks posed by HIV/AIDS to minority groups and U.S. national security. In recent months, the leader of the African National Congress, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and Kenya's Minister of State, Major Madoka, reported to the press that AIDS "did not originate in Africa."
"HIV certainly has links to sub-human African primates," Dr. Horowitz explained. "What was done to these monkeys and chimpanzees during viral vaccine experiments should come under closer scientific scrutiny." The doctor's documentation strongly supports the iatrogenic theory of AIDS versus the commonly accepted belief that the virus evolved naturally.
Dr. Horowitz's full thesis, published in Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola-Nature, Accident or Intentional? (Tetrahedron Press, 1998; 1-888-508-4787), gained him the 1999 "Author of the Year Award" from the World Natural Health Organization. His work has gained increasing respect from members in Congress and the medical scientific communities, some of whom are calling for a reevaluation of AIDS's origin with respect to vaccines.
CRUSADING JOURNALISTS AMONG THIS YEAR'S GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZE WINNERS
World's Largest Award for Grassroots Environmentalists
Two American journalists who risked their careers to expose the dangers of rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), a Rwandan who fought to save mountain gorillas amidst his country's genocidal wars, and a Bolivian worker who won the world's first major victory in the struggle over privatizing public water, are winners of the 12th annual Goldman Environmental Prize, to be awarded on April 23, 2001.
They are among eight environmental heroes from around the globe who will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. The award, given in six geographical categories, includes a prize of $125,000 from the Goldman Environmental Foundation. (Two of this year's categories have two winners each.)
The total of $750,000 is given annually to grassroots heroes from North America, Africa, South/Central America, Asia, Europe, and Island Nations. Seventy-one previous Goldman Prize winners have successfully defended the safety and health of their homelands from destructive government projects and practices, multinational corporations, corrupt leaders, international financial institutions, and even the destruction of wars. The Goldman Prize allows many to continue their work and expand public awareness of what are often life-and-death environmental crises.
This year's winners are:
- North America - Jane Akre and Steve Wilson: Two TV journalists who researched the potential health risks of rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone)-the genetically modified hormone injected into U.S. dairy cows to stimulate milk production. The hormone is among of the first genetically modified products approved by the FDA. It is banned in Europe, Japan and most other industrialized nations. Their resulting story proved too hot for the local TV network affiliate for which it was produced and ultimately led to their firing.
- Africa - Eugene Rutagarama: A conservationist who risked his life to save Rwanda's last 355 mountain gorillas. He was forced to flee Rwanda during the massacres of the 1990s, during which most of his family was killed. As soon as possible, he returned to rebuild the national park system and protect the gorilla habitat from human encroachment as the government resettled millions of refugees. While his country was overrun with brutality and murder, he risked his life to save the silent victims of this genocidal war.
- South America - Oscar Olivera: A Bolivian labor leader who became an advocate for universal rights to affordable, clean water. In 1999, the Bolivian government reacted to pressure from international financial institutions by selling the public water system of one of its largest cities to a U.S. corporation. The corporation immediately raised water rates to the point where many families were paying up to a third of their income for water. Finding this intolerable, he led a coalition that took to the streets in the tens of thousands to bring the city to a halt for days. After a brutal government crackdown forced him into hiding, he emerged and continued protests and negotiations that forced the government to cancel the sale.
- Asia - Yosepha Alomang: An indigenous woman of West Papua (Irian Jaya, Indonesia) who has organized resistance to the destruction of the world's largest gold mining operation, set amidst at-risk virgin tropic rainforests. She has been detained, placed in inhumane confinement, and tortured for her efforts. Her ethnic group has declared independence to gain control over their resources, and their actions have been met with repressive and violent government action. Regardless of these dangers, she continues to shepherd projects promoting traditional cultures, collective action and the well being of indigenous people in West Papua.
- Europe - Myrsini Malakou and Giorgos Catsadorakis: Two Greek biologists who led the charge to create a crucial wetlands conservation area located in remote northwestern Greece, adjacent to the borders of Albania and Macedonia (former Yugoslavia). No other area in Europe of comparable size is as biologically rich and diverse. Post-World War II government policies nearly destroyed the wetlands and the traditions of the people in the region. The Prize recipients worked for years researching, organizing, and advocating sustainable farming and economic activities to restore this precious area. Their hard work paid off last year when Albania, Macedonia, and Greece jointly created the first trans-boundary protected area in the Balkans, an area better known for conflict than cooperation.
- Island Nations - Bruno Van Peteghem: A New Caledonia (in the South Pacific east of Australia) resident working against time and mining interests to protect one of the world's coral reefs from destruction. International companies are ready to dig up huge portions of the living reefs to provide neutralizing agents for acidic nickel mine tailings. Van Peteghem is leading a campaign to place the reef on the World's Heritage List-the reef's best hope for permanent protection. A successful island environmental activist since the early 1990s, he has confronted severe intimidation and abuse including the suspicious burning of his family's home.
"The world is getting smaller, and the need is growing for everyone to take responsibility for keeping our planet healthy," said Richard N. Goldman, founder of the Goldman Environmental Prize.
"The winners this year illustrate how the environment is affected by wars, international business, economic policies, and the tendency to put short-term gains ahead of long term solutions. They also illustrate how the courage and commitment of a single visionary individual can make a difference for generations to come."
The first Goldman Environmental Prizes were awarded in 1990 by civic leaders Mr. Goldman and his late wife Rhoda H. Goldman. Mr. Goldman is Chairman of Goldman Insurance Services in San Francisco. Rhoda Goldman was a descendant of Levi Strauss, the founder of the worldwide clothing company that bears his name.
Goldman Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a network of over 20 environmental organizations and individuals representing nearly 50 nations. The Goldman Prize is the world's largest award for environmental activists. In addition to the cash award, recipients travel to San Francisco and Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony and presentation, press conferences, media briefings, and meetings with political, public policy, financial and environmental leaders.
The Prize ceremony, including 3-minute speeches by the winners and 5-minutes videos about their work will be webcast live on the Internet at http://www.goldmanprize.org on April 23, 5:00 p.m. Pacific/8:00 p.m. Eastern time.
FOR BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PRIZE AND PREVIOUS WINNERS http://www.goldmanprize.org
CONTACTS: Goldman Environmental Prize: Beverly Becker: 415/788?9090
From: Betty Martini <Mission-Possible-USA@altavista.net>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001
Subject: PR Watch Congratulates Akre & Wilson
From: PR Watch editors Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Congratulations to investigative TV journalists Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, recipients of this year's prestigious 2001 Goldman Environmental Prize. Jane Akre tells the couple's story of their courageous battle against media censorship at the hands of the Fox and Monsanto corporations in PR Watch Volume 7, 4, at http://www.prwatch.org
Three years ago in PR Watch Volume 5, 2, also at http://www.prwatch.org, we revealed how Akre and Wilson were fired by Fox TV station WTVT in Tampa after refusing to go along with misleading alterations to their story about Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH). Last August Jane Akre won a landmark whistleblower lawsuit against WTVT, yet their former network continues its legal efforts to reverse the ruling and crush them financially.
The Goldman Environmental Prize which Akre and Wilson will receive this evening at a ceremony in San Francisco is an honor that should send a message to journalists everywhere. We hope that their example will encourage other reporters to display similar courage in standing up against efforts at self-censorship by media corporations and their advertisers.
Journalists should examine this case and its implications. If the Fox network and Monsanto could destroy the careers of these two seasoned reporters, the same thing could happen to anyone. With few resources other than courage and truth Akre and Wilson have struggled to place issues before the public that otherwise would remain hidden from view. In addition to their battle in the courts, they have used the skills they honed in the newsroom to fight back in the court of public opinion, refusing to be silenced.
Goldman Environmental Prize: http://www.goldmanprize.org
Jane Akre & Steve Wilson: http://www.foxbghsuit.com
PR Watch: http://www.prwatch.org
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