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Fourth Estate or Fifth Column?
Panel on Rights & Responsibilities of Independent Writers in a Time of Terror

“The events of 9/11 and the Bush Administration's 'war on terror' have had a chilling effect on writers,” says Mel Friedman, writer and activist in the National Writers Union. Concerned about the impact of the USA PATRIOT Act and other measures of the Bush administration to restrict the free flow of ideas and information, Friedman has joined with other members of the NWU’s New York chapter to organize a panel on "Fourth Estate or Fifth Column?: Rights & Responsibilities of Independent Writers in a Time of Terror," to be held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on May 4.

“The adversarial relationship between government and its critics is not unique to this administration," says Friedman. “But the Bush Administration's obsession with secrecy, its efforts to gut the Freedom of Information Act, and its return to a policy that treats dissent as disloyalty bode ill for a republic founded on human rights and the free flow of ideas and information."

The panel discussion is co-sponsored by the National Writers Union and the City University of New York Graduate Center's Continuing Education and Public Programs.

“Every journalist, every author, and every citizen needs to understand the challenges facing the press today,” says Friedman. “The May 4 panel is an opportunity to increase our understanding so that writers can respond effectively to safeguard the free flow of information and ideas that is the guarantor of our democracy.”

The event will be held on May 4, 2004, at The City University of New York Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. Suggested donation $10; $5 for students. To register (course #4235) or for more information, call: (212) 817-8215, or visit Continuing Education website.


GERARD COLBY, Author, Journalist and President, National Writers Union

LUCY DALGLISH, Executive Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Washington, DC

LARRY SIEMS, Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs
PEN American Center, New York.
Larry Siems served for five years as Director of the Freedom to Write Program at PEN USA West in Los Angeles, where he spearheaded the establishment of PEN's Latin American Network.

UDI OFER, Director, New York Bill of Rights Defense Campaign, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York

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