Red pen for a red state

Nov 19, 2004

E-mail message sent 11/19

Joan Siefert Rose
General Manager, WUNC 91.5FM

I understand from recent news reports that WUNC made a minor word change in the Ipas underwriter message (“Ipas, a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit that protects women’s reproductive health and rights at home and abroad. More information available at www.ipas.org.”), from “reproductive rights” to “reproductive health.” Please correct me if I have been misinformed.

Last week, I did my part to support the station [with a donation during pledge week] – I am an avid listener of WUNC, and I very much appreciate the programming and service you provide to our community.

However, I want to register an impassioned complaint to tell you how angry I am about the decision to edit the Ipas message. Regardless of my views on the Ipas mission and the morality of contraception and abortion, as a journalist and American I feel strongly that the First Amendment freedoms must be strenuously defended. Your censorial change, I feel, is actually an erosion of those freedoms and an abdication in the face of a manipulation of language more befitting an authoritarian state. I would hope the station managers would understand the very nature of the word “rights” whether that word is appended to “human,” “freedom of expression” and “reproductive” and how those rights transcend politics.

I look forward to your reply.

Anton

[DISCLOSURE: I recently applied for WUNC’s new health reporter position, but was not chosen. No hard feelings.]

Anton Zuiker

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