Apr 5 1999

FAIR on Pacifica Accountability and Sawaya Decision

FAIR’s extensive research into the mass media has led us to see the connection between unaccountable corporate structures at news outlets and declining commitment to the public interest. While FAIR considers Pacifica to be one of the most important independent media outlets in the country, we feel the need to express our belief that Pacifica should have open and accountable management processes. Indeed, as a community radio network, Pacifica owes it to the public to be far more open and accountable than corporate, mainstream media outlets.

We are particularly concerned about the departure from KPFA of Nicole Sawaya, a station manager who was highly regarded by station staff, volunteers and listeners. Pacifica‘s executive director says that thedecision is an “internal management decision.” In view of the unique and participatory role that Pacifica stations have played in the community, we think Pacifica has not adequately explained its decision. We urge Pacifica to reconsider the move not to renew Sawaya’s contract. In addition, we question Pacifica‘s order to KPFA reporters not cover this decision — a decision that has led to public debate and protest.