FBI takes aim at Indy Media

September 21, 2001

The investigation, made together with Canadian authorities, pursued the source of postings to the IMC website that revealed contingency plans used against demonstrators – plans allegedly stolen from a police car in Quebec City. Agents claimed that the Secret Service was notified of the existence of such posts by a tip from an unnamed major commercial news network.

Such tactics are not new to the FBI, nor is their collusion with corporate media. What is new is the coming of age of a militant movement ready to defend freedom of the press, First Amendment rights and the widespread rejection of corporate censorship. This clumsy FBI fishing expedition targets the constitutionally protected sources and visitors to the Seattle IMC web site which received 700,000 hits during the weekend of the anti-FTAA demonstrations. Since the anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle 1999, IMC web sites have sprung up in 65 cities worldwide to create media promoting social and economic justice. There are plans underway for 30 more IMC web sites.

The Bush administration and the right-wing courts want to reinvent free speech rights to fit the agenda of global corporations. For example, a recent FCC ruling rolled back the regulations that used to limit corporate monopolization of newspapers and TV stations in a single region or market. Besides further elevating ‘free speech’ rights for corporations, this decision asserted that the Internet now provides an inexpensive information alternative to print and TV. Yet this same administration makes attacks on the IMC, an Internet news outlet that is a genuine grassroots alternative to corporate mass media, and apparently, an alternative to be reckoned with.

Nearly airtight corporate control of the media adds to the already high stakes in the fight to defend democracy. Breaking through the corporate media stranglehold and building independent media collaborations is crucial for the labor and people’s fight against the right. The battle to defeat the right-wing agenda is in the halls of congress and in the streets. Independent coverage of mass, militant demonstrations is a key element to breaking the right-wing ideological and political game plan of Bush and is thus a battleground the left and the Communists can not sit out.

The Communist, left and independent media form a base of support for the labor and people’s struggles. They are the media that is by, for and about working families and the movements that represent their interests. The Communist media, especially the press, has historically been a lightning rod for struggles for democracy. Now we in the Communist media need to vigorously support collaborations between the independent media movement and the pro-democracy forces who work within the main stream media. Democracy and press freedom is worth fighting for! Our future depends on it!

Support independent media and the Communist press. Be with the people’s journalists who are fighting for the truth in the mainstream media! Call in to radio talk shows, write letters to the editor in your local paper. Challenge the corporate domination of the media.

Political Affairs Magazine – June, 2001


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