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News program offers independent voice

by Gratia Bone '03

Editor’s note: HPU alumna Gratia Bone, director of Community Relations for ‘Olelo, sent us these stories about an exciting news program that, if it is everything she says it is, will be welcomed by journalist and concerned citizens everywhere.

Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 140 stations in North America. Now ‘Olelo Community Television joins them in pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the United States.

Amy Goodman

Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! began in 1996 as the only daily election show in public broadcasting. Due to popular demand, Democracy Now! continued beyond the presidential elections, soon becoming Pacifica’s flagship news and public affairs program. In 2000, Democracy Now! pioneered an unprecedented multimedia collaboration involving nonprofit community radio, satellite and cable television, and the Internet as it broadcast, live two-hour daily specials at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, direct from the Independent Media Centers in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Today, Democracy Now! brings the voices of the streets to the airwaves, with on-the-ground coverage from Washington to Prague, Quebec City to Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Juan Gonzales



In Hawai‘i, Democracy Now! is broadcast on Channel 56, Monday through Friday nights at 10 pm. It recently launched an expanded, two-hour “War and Peace Report” in order to meet a growing demand for trustworthy, independent news and information on the progress of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report provides audiences access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S. corporate-sponsored media, including independent international journalists, ordinary people from around the world who are directly affected by U.S. foreign policy, grassroots leaders, peace activists, artists, academics, and independent analysts.

The War and Peace Report also hosts real debates–debates between people who substantially disagree, such as between White House or Pentagon spokespeople on one hand, and grassroots activists on the other.

Why independent media? For true democracy to work, people need easy access to independent, diverse sources of news and information. But the last two decades have seen unprecedented corporate media consolidation in the United States.

The U.S. media was already fairly homogenous in the early ‘80s: some 50 media conglomerates dominated all media outlets, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, music, publishing, and film. In the year 2000, just six corporations dominated the U.S. media.

Democracy Now! is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations, which allows it to maintain its independence.

The program is hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.


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