AFTRA probes BP’s access cutoff

Journos complain about being shut out

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is monitoring reports of denial of access and censorship in coverage of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and its aftermath.

“We are concerned about continuing reports that journalists are being denied access to sources and public places necessary for them to fully cover this important story,” said AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon in a statement issued Thursday.

“The causes and effects of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon must be uncovered and analyzed, and our only hope of getting to the truth is through investigative journalism by professionals with unfettered and unfiltered access to the sources.”

AFTRA announced Thursday that it has launched a website,, as a clearinghouse of published accounts of denied access as well as firsthand accounts by newsies submitted through a confidential online form.

Diana Boylston, president of AFTRA in New Orleans, and Herta Suarez, exec director of AFTRA’s southeast regional office in Miami, toured the BP Learning Center near Houma, La., on Thursday.

“AFTRA is watching this situation closely and communicating directly with newspersons on the ground to make sure that government and corporations are being transparent,” Boylston said.

“AFTRA will keep all of its members, including broadcast journalists, recording artists and other performers, informed so that they can work with allies in the labor movement and the community to advocate for complete transparency from both the government and private corporations.”

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