One of Sydney’s major community radio stations, 2ser, has ordered its volunteer workforce not to speak to any other media outlets about the station.
The ruling is included in a new five page contract which has been leaked to Indymedia. (see pdf below)
About 200 volunteers work at the station which is based at the UTS campus. All volunteers were told to sign the contracts or they would have to leave the station.
The legalistic document states:
“Under no circumstances will I make any statements to the media (including press, radio or television) concerning 2ser without the approval of the Director or his/her nominee”.
Indymedia has spoken to several 2ser volunteers who are unhappy with the gag clause. “It’s blatant censorship” said one. “Community radio is supposed to be about free speech and the expression of independent ideas, this is the exact opposite”.
Volunteers say the current station management is increasingly authoritarian with almost no proper avenues available for real consultation. They say genuine debate or dissent is strongly discouraged and in some cases punished.
So called “Gag clauses” are common in the corporate world but seem out of place in small, non profit organisations.
The Federal government has just introduced a bill to ban gag clauses in the non profit sector. This government announcement from March 13 says “The Not-for-Profit Sector Freedom to Advocate Bill safeguards the right of not-for-profit groups to advocate freely in the interests of the community”.
2SER seems to be going in the other direction.