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“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman

Puerto Rican Students Organize National Strike Demanding Transparency in Response to Austerity Measures

University students across Puerto Rico organized a national strike that sparked demonstrations and protests on May 1, 2017, as reported by David Cordero, Sarah Vázquez, and Ronald Ávila Claudio for the Metro. The strike, el Paro Nacional, resulted from public outrage over announced austerity measures affecting education and pensions, as well as outrage over the lack of transparency in the process through which those measures were approved. Due to a mass promotion effort, multiple civic organizations, student groups, and individual citizens came together to stop all work and engage in protest.

The austerity measures, including $512 million in cuts to university funding, were to be implemented by a fiscal joint committee, la Junta de Control Fiscal, as part of the  Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), a US federal law responding to the island’s fiscal crisis. PROMESA, introduced by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) on May 18, 2016 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 30, 2016, established the joint committee as “an Oversight Board with broad powers of budgetary and financial control over Puerto Rico.”

University students, labor unions, and civic groups requested an audit of the government accounts to justify the austerity cuts because a public oversight commission, la Auditoría Integral del Crédito Público (CAICP) found nearly $40 billion in illegal debt in 2016. As Charlie Cooper reported for the Nation, this “extra-constitutional’ debt was saddled with predatory interest rates or ‘toxic’ interest-rate swaps.”

However, Governor Ricardo Roselló prevented further auditing by discontinuing CAICP through legislation, Ley 3, which he signed January 23, 2017. In response, the island’s government received 100,000 petitions the following month demanding that auditing resume, as Adriana De Jesús Salamán reported in Diálogo UPR. Subsequently, students began a movement that “shut down university operations since March,” according to Cooper, and formed protests commencing in mid-April in front of the island’s Capitol against the austerity measures and for the restitution of CAICP.

Due to these protests’ impact, as Cindy Burgos Alvarado reported for Caribbean Business, the Puerto Rican senate approved a resolution “to request the Comptroller General of the United States to audit the public debt of Puerto Rico based on what is established in section 411 of the federal PROMESA law.” Alvarado explained that “the report will not be an audit like the one presented by the Audit Commission for Public Credit, but a report that would not go into details of how the debt was issued.” The short answer is that protesters’ demands for a detailed audit would not be met, which is why the massive strike and demonstrations took place on May 1st, 2017.

Since Ley 3 also froze government salary raises, made cuts to school transportation, and severely limited the extent public-sector unions could participate in labor negotiations, as reported by Gloria Ruiz Kuilan in El Nuevo Día, students expanded the scope of the protest, allowing them to collaborate with other public interest groups such as the Brotherhood of Exempt Non-Teared Employees (HEND), the Central Federation of Workers, the Puerto Rican Union of Workers (SPT), the General Union of Workers (UGT), and the Union of Workers of the Electrical and Irrigation Industry (UTIER), as mentioned in the Metro’s coverage of the national strike. Puerto Ricans came together to protest the Puerto Rican government’s lack of transparency and the forceful imposition of the austerity measures by La Junta without an audit.

US corporate media coverage of this massive strike has been close to nonexistent.  When the commonwealth entirely shut down, corporate media didn’t bat an eye; when a referendum of the territory’s future status was conducted with a low voter turnout, it was covered by CNN. This reflects the invisibility of a people who refused to be silenced through a colonial rule euphemized as a “commonwealth.”

Sources:

David Cordero, Sarah Vázquez, and Ronald A. Claudio, “Paro nacional: contundente manifestación en contra de las medidas de austeridad,” Metro, May 02, 2017, https://www.metro.pr/pr/noticias/2017/05/01/paro-nacional-contundente-manifestacion-medidas-austeridad.html.

Ed Morales. “Students Are Now Leading the Resistance to Austerity in Puerto Rico,” The Nation, April 27, 2017, https://www.thenation.com/article/students-are-now-leading-the-resistance-to-austerity-in-puerto-rico/.

Cindy Burgos Alavarado, “Sen. Seilhamer: The debt will be audited,” Caribbean Business, April 19, 2017, http://caribbeanbusiness.com/sen-seilhamer-the-debt-will-be-audited/.

Adriana De Jesús Salamán, “Gobernador y cuerpo legislativo reciben 100 mil peticiones para auditar la deuda,” Diálogo UPR, February 22, 2017, http://dialogoupr.com/gobernador-y-cuerpo-legislativo-reciben-100-mil-peticiones-para-auditar-la-deuda/.

Gloria Ruiz Kuilan, “Cero aumentos para empleados hasta el 2021,” El Nuevo Día, January 30, 2017. https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/ceroaumentosparaempleadoshastael2021-2285882/

Student Researcher: Christian Andino Borrero (Syracuse University)

Faculty Evaluators: Chad Seader & Jeff Simmons (Syracuse University)

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