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Support Press Freedom, Demand Justice

In Brad Will, Civil Liberties, class warfare, Direct action, Economic Justice, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, International politics, Media Criticism, Netroots, New York City on November 21, 2006 at 6:33 pm

I’ve posted a few things about the murder of Brad Will in Oaxaca, Mexico in late October. Here is something straight-forward that I implore readers to consider regarding both Brad’s murder and the way it was used by Mexico’s federal forces…

Sign on to the letter discussed below. I did and encourage you to do the same.

Keep plugged into NYC Indymedia, Zapagringo, and El Enimigo Comun to stay up-to-date with actions in Oaxaca and solidarity actions taking place up here. Also, be sure to stay on top of the heated developments in Atenco, Mexico.

Thanks again to Josh Breitbart for being one of the many taking the lead on this and laying out a solid argument on why to sign the letter. Below are excerpts from his post…

Brad Will’s death has been used as an excuse by Mexican President Vicente Fox to send thousands of federal troops to repress the political uprising in Oaxaca. US Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza signalled his support for that move when he called for a return to “lawfulness and order.”

This is a very ugly precedent. As Al Giordano from Narco News told the Village Voice, “Anytime the local forces of repression can’t contain a rebellion in Mexico and want the feds to storm in, the recipe now exists: Kill a foreign journalist.”

Mexico was already ranked as the most dangerous country in Latin America for journalists by Reporters Without Borders. Since Brad’s death, violent attacks on journalists have greatly increased, especially in Oaxaca.

[…]

Anthony Riddle of the Alliance for Community Media has written an eloquent letter to Ambassador Garza emphasizing precisely this point:

All American citizens must be protected by the full power of our government wherever they travel in the world. This is especially the case when that citizen is a journalist attempting to report the truth in a dangerous situation. When the members of the press are subjected to physical attack, it is our values of freedom and of democracy which suffer…

Our government and mainstream press should feel the same outrage over this killing as over the death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. If anything, reporters who give of their own resources and work under such dangerous circumstances are even more deserving of our respect and protection because of the great personal sacrifice they endure in the quest for the information we need to exist as a free people.

I’ve revised it and posted it to the Friends of Brad Will site to allow more people and organizations to sign on.

Many already have, including Free Press, New America Media, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Prometheus Radio Project, People’s Production House, National Federation of Community Broadcasters, and Media Alliance, as well as DeeDee Halleck (Deep Dish), Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist), Lisa Rudman (National Radio Project), Noelle Hanrahan (Prison Radio) and seven separate Indymedia centers (NYC, LA, AZ, Philly, Santa Cruz, Indybay, US).

The letter ends:

The undersigned implore the United States government to:

  1. Give full governmental protection throughout the world, in word and deed, to community-based journalists from the United States.
  2. Ask the Mexican Government to make a formal, federal inquiry into the killing of journalist Bradley Roland Will in Oaxaca on October 27, 2006.
  3. Ask that the Mexican Government bring his killer(s) to justice.
  4. Ask that the Mexican Government state clearly that it will not tolerate the targeting of journalists covering conflicts, no matter what their affiliations or nationalities.

If the tragic killing of Bradley Roland Will results in the strengthening of protections for independent journalists, then his death will not have been in vain. More importantly, we will have stood together as a nation against an attack on our free press and the many freedoms which are built upon it.

I encourage you to sign it. Encourage friends and allies to do the same.

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