Press Release – 04/28/05

When: Saturday, April 30, 2005, Noon to 1:00 PM
Where: KPFA, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley

For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bill Mandel was thrown off KPFA exactly ten years ago, on April 30, 1995, for violating a gag order against airing news of the struggle over KPFA’s political direction. It appears that the gag order is alive and well.

Last month, on March 7, a delegation of thirteen seasoned KPFA listener activists delivered a petition to KPFA, demanding Mandel’s return to the air with a regularly-scheduled program. New General Manager Roy Campanella II backed out on his promise to meet with the delegation.

The March delegation was led by JACK HEYMAN of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Mandel’s supporters include DANIEL ELLSBERG, PETESEEGER, ED ASNER, TILLIE OLSEN, ALEXANDER COCKBURN, LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI, the late environmental icon DAVID BROWER, and LUIS VALDEZ, director of “Zoot Suit,” who was once Mandel’s student.

Since the delegation visit, there has been a lot of talk about bringing Mandel back, but no action.

The gag order against airing news of the struggle over KPFA’s political direction supposedly ended after the 1999 listener uprising against corporate control of the station. But just this week rumors have circulated that Mandel will not be brought back because he speaks too frankly about his views on the station’s political struggles.

Other prominent broadcasters who were expelled for violating the gag order during the period of corporate control, Larry Bensky and Robbie Osman, have been returned to the air. But not Mandel.

Now almost 88 years old, Mandel is well-versed in both current and historical affairs, and is an expert on Russia and the Soviet Union.

Daniel Ellsberg, one of Mandel’s many supporters, writes: “I always learned, listening to Bill Mandel on KPFA. I’d like very much to be able to hear him again; his voice is needed as much as ever, and it was a great mistake for KPFA to deprive us of it.”

Justice delayed is justice denied. A decade is too long for an elder with a wealth of invaluable and unique experiences and insight to be gagged.

The petition for Mandel’s return can be found at his website, www.billmandel.net.
Additional background information is available at www.struggle-and-win.net.