LA solidarity hunger strikers challenge media silence

LA hunger strike

LA hunger strike

By Luqman Barwari:

On Monday, November 12, 2012, a 48-hour hunger strike in front of the CNN-Los Angeles building was organized by Kurdish National Congress of North America and Kurdish Americans of California to express solidarity with the 10,000 Kurdish political prisoners who have been on hunger strike in Turkey, some since September 12, 2012. The purpose of this protest was to draw attention to the lack of international media coverage of the hunger strike and raise awareness.

Our hunger strike group of four spent 48 hours around the clock camping in front of CNN-LA on Sunset Blvd on the pavement; we were periodically accompanied by a large group of local Kurds and non Kurds. CNN-LA and LA police were both notified by our action several days prior to the protest. At the onset of the protest our group spoke to CNN-LA security to arrange for a delivery of our message directly to the news room but, although, they were sympathetic to our cause, we were informed that CNN never covers any protest held in front of the building.

CNN-LA is situated on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood with constant traffic, both on foot and auto as well. We hung our slogan banners from one end of the block to the other end, and camped in front of the large doorway accessing the CNN-LA building. We distributed our press releases to passers by and many of them stopped, chatted and showed their solidarity with the Kurdish political prisoners on hunger strike.

Although we know that CNN and other media outlets possess their own policies, however, we strongly feel that values such as freedom of information and belief in the responsibility of keeping the public informed are adjusted to reflect policies created by the bottom-line-oriented CEOs.

As Kurdish American, we are concerned at the lack of media coverage about the Kurdish political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey. It is unfortunate to see CNN and other international media outlets keeping silent on this matter as most of the hunger strikers are approaching their 65th days, and many of them may face death if a solution is not reached very soon. It is alarming for us to see the US and international media outlets practice censorship to this level.

Not to take the story lightly, but we have all witnessed that if an elephant gets stuck in the mud, the international media outlets, including CNN, make such a story headline news for days in and out – but they have hardly mentioned the fate of 10,000 Kurdish political prisoners on hunger strike and facing death in Turkey.

Luqman Barwari is the KNC-NA President

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