Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Reporters of Color Harassed and Arrested In Gulf Coast

Hard Knock Radio and Third World Majority have assembled a crew of folks to go down to the Gulf Coast to report on actual conditions there for KPFA and Pacifica Radio. Separately, our comrade Rosa Clemente from WBAI and many other independent journalists have gone down to do the same. You can hear the fruits of this work on Davey D’s site, here and here. I’ll be writing up HKR and TWM’s reporting with a team from the Bay Area.

The thing I wanted to let folks know is that there is systematic harassment going on of young independent reporters of color. In Houston at the Astrodome, the HKR and TWM delegation were harassed at every turn by Red Cross and local officials as they collected stories from evacuees.

Why? Well, we can say this: Many evacuees were reluctant to speak to mainstream media reporters because they worried that if what they said that was negative about the relief efforts they might suffer retaliation. (Many people are standing in line for 6-8 hours to receive basic necessities.) But they were willing to speak candidly to the HKR/TWM crew. In the weeks ahead, check out what you’re hearing from the major outlets against what reporters of color at Pacifica and other alternative outlets will be telling you.

Independent reporters of color in New Orleans, in particular, are being targeted by the military for harassment. By contrast, Chris Matthews broadcast Hardball yesterday live from the heart of the French Quarter. His lead today? Hope In French Quarter.

At the same time, Rosa Clemente was arrested last night in Baton Rouge after returning from New Orleans when the National Guard attempted to confiscate her mini-disc and recording equipment. She is shaken up but back on the street with her equipment and will continue to be reporting.

More on this as we hear…

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