2SER gags its own volunteers

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.

See also: ACOSS applauds proposal to legislate to ban gag-clauses



Who is being stopped by whom from saying what to the media?

Does "staff" mean paid staff? Unusual for a volunteer station and dangerous. Entrenched staff tend to get too big for their boots, tend to think they own the place.

It's the volunteers who inspire a station, not paid administrators.

How many staff do you have?

Its about gagging "volunteers" not paid staff. 2ser has about 200 volunteers who are forced to sign the contract.

Volunteers are not:
"It's your Rules & Your Rules".
Volunteers, by wirtue of giving their time freely have an unstated ethical position of "It's Your Rules, It's My Rules". This is actually the healthy position of all Volunteer work. The unhealthy is the first where the Chair or Director has all say, and all must "obey".
Seems like the authoritarian "boss" at 2SER wants to go by his or her own Rules and not allow the volunteers what is rightly theirs, the ability to state what is "their rules".

Volunteers are not saints, and don't ever have to put up with this terrible kind of behaviour from their "supervisors" the paid workers there.

2SER would not exist without the creative input of it's valuable "Volunteers".
That's the bottom line.

Thanks Indy

It's very childish and unsophisticated to MicroManage Volunteers this way. I've had this terrible experience my self and walked away to find more civil, less dictatorish volunteer environments.
It's as if the paid "boss" is suppressing the voices of the volunteers.
There's something amiss with all this.
Volunteer work is always done for free, and with that there should be the basic decency of treating the volunteers with the utmost respect, not gagging them, or treating them as subservient and to go along with absolutely anything and everything the "boss" may want to do or say.
Something very odd about all this.
Am glad ACOSS are looking at this, if I'm correct here that they are?

The current 2SER General Manager Melanie Whitnall, and the 2SER Board of Directors who allowed this to happen on their watch must all be sacked immediately!

They must be living in La La Land if they think that this kind of behaviour will prevail.

Reminds me of the Stasi in East Germany who kept secret files on its citizens, and punished those severely who spoke up against the regime.