ICE blogs

April 29, 2011

Concern over intimidation of top journalist and professor

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 8:09 am

A group of prominent US academics and journalists have expressed concern about what they claim is ‘a retaliatory campaign’ by law enforcement authorities and Northwestern University, Chicago, against long-time investigative journalist and Professor David Protess.

Professor Protess has established a national reputation at Northwestern University by working with journalism students on investigations that have resulted in the release of a dozen innocent men from death row or long prison terms. His work and writings have inspired many to become investigative journalists and to the creation of innocence projects in their own communities.

The controversy began two years ago when the Cook County prosecutor began an unprecedented effort to obtain the notes, grades and emails of Professor Protess’s students, who worked on the case of a man who appears to have been unjustly convicted.

Now Professor Protess’s methods and honesty have been questioned not only by prosecutors, but by his employer, Northwestern University, and its attorneys. Earlier this month, in a highly unusual proceeding the University presented its case against Professor Protess to a closed session of the journalism faculty. Professor Protess was barred from the meeting, denying him an opportunity to confront the accusations. Then the university issued a press release making public the serious allegations against him, quickly adding that it would not comment any further.

Tarnished and isolated, Protess has been the subject of news reports and leaks that further damaged his reputation. In response, he has asked for an independent investigation into the allegations against him as well as the conduct of all those involved.

The academics and journalists call on colleagues, especially those covering the news media, to join in investigating what is happening at Northwestern University. They also ask university officials to present themselves in a public session to explain their actions, and to answer questions on why they have endangered one of the premier investigative reporting projects in the country.

- Contact: Brant Houston, brant.houston@gmail.com; David Cay Johnston, davidcay@me.com; Lowell Bergman, lowellbergman@berkeley.edu; Mark Feldstein, feldy@gwu.edu.

Exhibition marks Wapping struggle

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 8:04 am

Wapping - one of the key industrial disputes of the Thatcher era, when 5,550 production and clerical workers were sacked by Rupert Murdoch overnight - is being marked by a 25th anniversary exhibition in London.

In January 1986, News International - owners of The Times, Sunday Times, the Sun and News of the World - sacked thousands of staff when it moved its operations to Wapping in East London. The exhibition highlights the 13-month struggle the employees staged to save their jobs and protect trade union rights. It will be held at the Marx Memorial Library, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU, from 1 May and will run for a month.

Dramatic images, photographs and accounts of the dispute - when Rupert Murdoch used his vast wealth, aided by the Conservatives’ anti-union legislation to facilitate the dash to Wapping - will be on display. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘The industrial disputes involving the print unions in the 1980s, starting with the Stockport Messenger and culminating with News International at Wapping were, along with the miners, sustained blows against organised labour in the UK that the Conservative victory in 1979 had, of course, heralded, but the seriousness of which was little realised.’

The multi-media exhibition has been organised by Unite, the National Union of Journalists, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and the Marx Memorial Library. For opening hours, please ring 020 7253 1485 and/or check the website: http://www.marx-memorial-library.org/.

- See http://www.cpbf.org.uk/

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