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(en) Australia, alt. media, Commercial Radio Hijacked in Sydney by Institute for Applied Piracy

From Viviane Lerner <vlerner@interpac.net>
Date Fri, 15 Nov 2002 10:39:32 -0500 (EST)


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Institute for Applied Piracy
The commercial radio world is in uproar over the unprecedented events of
this morning on the day of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
mini-ministerial meeting in Homebush, Sydney.

A pirate radio broadcast jammed commercial radio signals this morning by the
so-called Institute For Applied Piracy disrupting usual programming by
blocking commercial signals for 10 minutes with an anti-WTO report.

The transmission explained to listeners that the WTO abuses human rights,
world health, worker's rights, the environment and increases inequality
between rich and poor. The WTO's practices are literally killing people.
The broadcasters believe that these issues have a real impact on real people
yet ordinary Australians aren't being made aware of the facts.

"The media has not given any coverage to the real issues behind the WTO,"
said the radio pirates. "It has only given sensationalist coverage of
protesters being trampled by police horses, and no explanation of why people
are protesting. The media is neglecting its obligation to inform Australians
about the issues important to their lives."

The influence of the WTO is evident in the lack of discussion of these
issues in Australian media. Say the broadcasters, "We're not invited to
contribute to the media so we're forced to shout over the top of it!"

A transcript of the broadcast ...
Good morning 2Day FM. Welcome to a pirate radio broadcast on the day that
selected members of the World Trade Organisation are meeting in Homebush
here in Sydney.

As we speak many thousands of protesters are flocking to the Olympic stadium
in Homebush where today's WTO meeting is being held. So what is so bad about
the wto that people are prepared to risk becoming the victims of police
violence and media vilification to protest against it?

The reason people are so passionateABOUT SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE WTO is
that the wto makes decisions that affect the whole world. And yes Sydney,
this includes you.

The world trade organisation is an international body that exists to promote
international free trade, at any cost.

It has no connection with the UN, and although its members are governments,
they represent the wishes of corporations rather than ordinary citizens.

In its own words, the wto exists to eliminate what it defines as â?~barriers
to tradeâ??, but
increasingly people around the world are finding that what is being removed
is simply their basic rights.

>From human rights, workersâ?? rights and free speech, to public health,
education and the environment, these issues are steamrolled by the wto in
the quest for profit. The thousands of concerned citizens heading to
Homebush this morning are protesting against the wto's valuing of profits
over people.

Now its easy to think that a group of high fliers making decisions about
trade is a bit irrelevant to you, but actually their decisions have impact
on almost every aspect of your life â?? from your wages and conditions at
work to education, health, the food you eat, to indigenous issues and the
environment.

The fundamental difference between the WTO and other international bodies is
that the WTO exists expressly to advocate the interests of business and does
not represent the interests of citizens. The WTO sees issues of human
rights, worker's rights, health and the environment simply as Barriers to
Trade, and forces governments to neglect these issues, or suffer penalties.
Under wto law, it is illegal to give preference to a company just because
they have good human rights or environmental practice. It is also illegal to
discriminate against a company because they have a bad human rights record
or cause environmental damage.

With these laws, how can we prevent trade in endangered species or toxic
waste? How can countries limit exports of food when there is a national
famine, or of tree trunks when the forests are laid waste? How can we guard
against human rights abuses and child labour in sweatshops?

The wto also penalises countries in other ways. If our government urges us
to 'Buy Australian Made', it will be penalised by the WTO. If an
impoverished country with a starving population tries to give financial
assistance to its farmers to provide food for their own people, the wto will
penalise that government. In fact, policies that preference the use of local
materials or labour are illegal under wto laws.

These rules of the wto are unfair because they favour rich developed
countries and have terrible impact on developing countries. For example,
their laws promoting free trade allow floods of cheap imports to wipe out
the livelihoods of small farmers. Maize prices received by poor mexican
farmers have halved since mexico was forced to opene its borders to cheap US
maize, causing havoc in the countryside.

But even more unfair is that the richest countries break these rules, under
the wto's blatant double standards. For example, the wto has a law that
makes governments reduce subsidies to farmers, yet loopholes in this law
allow western governments to increase the support to their own farmers - The
United States forks out $US20,000 per farmer per year in subsidies.

The wto encourages human rights abuses in its quest for â?~free tradeâ??. it
gives advantage to countries that break international labour and human
rights rules.

The Wto laws override existing national laws, deeming them all 'barriers' to
trade and sweeping aside all environmental, social or public health
considerations.

Wto rules have had a devastating effect on world health in an effort to
protect the profits of large drug companies. 6 â?? 7 million people in
developing countries die every year from preventable diseases, because the
wto prevents them from accessing basic medication. In Africa, 11 million
people have died of AIDS, yet the wto discourages them from buying
cheaply-produced generic life-saving drugs, insisting the rights of drug
companies to protect their profits through patents is more important than
saving lives.

The wto does not even allow countries to refuse to import a product that may
be hazardous to health or destructive to the environment unless they have
undeniable scientific proof to the satisfaction of the wto. Canada, the
world's biggest asbestos producer, hopes to take advantage of this to force
Europe to import the carcinogenic substance again.

*the rules passed by the world trade organisation protecting patents mean
that the worldâ??s indigenous peoples cannot use the medicines they have
used for thousands of years, and find they have to buy back their
traditional knowledge from corporations.

So if the wto is so extreme, why don't ordinary people know more about it?
The answer is that commercial media doesn't cover these issues - if people
knew how their lives were affected by the wto's decisions and how the
interests of corporations overrode the needs of people, there would be a
worldwide revolution. Commercial media is protecting its own profits by
suppressing discussion about the wto. We are prevented from taking part in
the media - so now we're forced to shout over the top of it!

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