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AFTRA Announces Initiative to Support Journalists Covering Gulf Oil Spill

Union Delegation Attends Briefing at BP Learning Center in Louisiana

LOS ANGELES AND NEW ORLEANS (July 1, 2010)—The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), a national union of more than 70,000 professional performers, recording artists and broadcast journalists, today announced that the union has launched an initiative to monitor reports of denial of access and censorship of the story of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and its aftermath.

“We are concerned about continuing reports that journalists are being denied access to sources and public places necessary for them to fully cover this important story,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “The causes and effects of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon must be uncovered and analyzed, and our only hope of getting to the truth is through investigative journalism by professionals with unfettered and unfiltered access to the sources.”

AFTRA has launched a new website, www.aftra.com/access4media.htm, as a clearinghouse of published accounts of access denied as well as firsthand accounts by newspersons submitted through a confidential on-line form. The website also features links to safety resources and related information to assist journalists in safely covering the story. AFTRA is encouraging any newsperson who has been denied access by a government or corporate entity to share their story via the new website, www.aftra.com/access4media.htm, or by emailing their story to access4media@aftra.com.

In order to get a firsthand look at what and how information is being provided to the media, Diana Boylston, Local President of AFTRA in New Orleans, and Herta Suarez, Executive Director of AFTRA’s southeast regional office in Miami, are attending a press briefing at the BP Learning Center near Houma, Louisiana, on Thursday, July 1. According to Boylston, “AFTRA is watching this situation closely and communicating directly with newspersons on the ground to make sure that government and corporations are being transparent.”

AFTRA will keep all of its members, including journalists, television and radio performers, musicians and other artists, informed so that they can work with allies in the labor movement and the community to advocate for complete transparency from both the government and private corporations.

About AFTRA
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society.