Newspaper Guild Monitors ‘Dissenters’

By: Mark Fitzgerald

With the nation in a state of war that has no precedent, what happens to journalists whose work doesn’t go along with the program? The Newspaper Guild wants to find out.

The union, now a part of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), has created an electronic clearinghouse on its Web site that tracks how news operations treat journalists who “express unconventional viewpoints” during this war on terrorism. “Some journalists have found that they are supposed to be patriots first, and journalists second,” says an introduction to the clearinghouse.

The clearinghouse, called “Patriotism’s 2-Edged Sword,” can be accessed directly on the Guild site at http://www.newsguild.org/2edged.php. Already on the site are news articles and commentary about the flow of information and the role of journalists during this period. The Guild is soliciting opinions and examples of journalists who have been disciplined for expressing a dissenting point of view. The Guild’s e-mail is guild@cwa-union.org.

“In times like these, it is especially important to monitor threats to free speech, and this Web site will help promote a broad discussion of censorship issues and media criticism,” said CWA President Morton Bahr.

“Our democracy has long withstood dissent and differing opinion — in fact, it’s our respect for a diversity of views that has made the United States a model of tolerance and respect,” added Guild President Linda Foley.

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