Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dear Randy Ward, how about allowing a broadcast by school inmates along the lines of Brixton Prison radio?

It's long been popular to give school kids the opportunity to present news and information to their peers; now this idea seems to have become popular in prisons. Does broadcasting improve the minds of the people who do it? How could it not? It makes them think; it teaches them to speak.

It's too bad students and teachers can't do probing interviews like the Brixton inmate who interviewed the former government minister who was sentenced to prison for perjury (story below).

A lot of problems in schools could be fixed if they weren't covered up by officials. Instead of selling exposure on public television to commercial interests, perhaps San Diego County Office of Education Superintendent Randolph Ward could create a television broadcast in which the inmates of San Diego schools, along with the public, could give real information to voters and taxpayers about schools.

Prison Radio Shines

Parmy Olson

A tiny prison radio station in London is competing against the BBC for a prestigious award.

...A tiny prison radio station in South London is up for four prestigious Sony awards on Monday night, putting it alongside the some of the top talent of the BBC and other commercial radio stations in the United Kingdom.

Electric Radio in Brixton Prison is run by the Prison Radio Association, a British charity, and broadcasts to just 800 inmates--but it has a rich array of programming...

Its nominations include an award for talk radio and the all-important Interview Award. of Brixton Prison's inmates interviewed former U.K. government minister Jonathan Aitken, who was sentenced to 18 months in Belmarsh prison in 1999 for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

The interviewer was half-way through a four-year sentence when he conducted the interview, and the two men were "socially, culturally and educationally poles apart," the Prison Radio Association says. But while Aitken comes across as well-spoken and slightly pompous, Tis' is not afraid to ask probing questions, creating an intriguing interview in which Aitken opens up about his divorce, bankruptcy and experiences in jail. The interview can be listened to here...

[Maura Larkins' comment: Perhaps freedom of speech, though it may be the foundation of our country's success, is not popular with education officials. Perhaps Randy Ward and Diane Crosier, who are supporting their lawyer Daniel Shinoff in his defamation lawsuit against me, believe that anyone who tells the truth about their actions should face a court system that has often helped them cover up their actions. Thank goodness they don't have as much power as officials in Iran.]

Blogger jailed in Iran is dead

March 19, 2009

A young blogger arrested in Iran for allegedly insulting supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in an Internet posting has died in prison, his attorney said Friday.

The blogger had been jailed for allegedly insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in an internet posting.

Attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said Omid Mir Sayafi, reported to be in his 20s, died in Evin prison, which is located in Tehran and known for its wing that holds political prisoners.

Dadkhah said a fellow inmate, Dr. Hessam Firouzi, called him Wednesday night with the news -- and said he believed Sayafi would have lived if he received proper medical care.

Dadkhah said Firouzi, an imprisoned human-rights activist, said that he carried a semi-conscious Sayafi to a prison doctor but that he didn't receive the care he needed.

"It was Dr. Firouzi's opinion that if he would've received proper medical attention, he would not have died," Dadkhah said.

He said Sayafi was buried on Thursday and that his calls to the prison asking for an explanation have not been returned.

Dadkhah said Sayafi "sounded OK" at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday when he last spoke to him by telephone. He said the blogger asked for a book about Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, which begins Friday.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, which advocates for activists in the country, quoted Firouzi on its Web site as saying Sayafi suffered from depression and had taken extra doses of medication on Wednesday.

The group blamed Iran's government for unsafe conditions in its prisons.

"Iranian leaders have relegated the administration of the prison system to a group of incompetent and cruel officials who are showing their utter disregard for human life," said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesman for the campaign. "If the authorities do not move quickly to hold negligent officials responsible, they are reinforcing impunity and the lack of accountability."

Sayafi was first arrested in April, then released for 41 days before being arrested again. He was sentenced to 2½ years in prison for comments on a blog that his lawyer argued was intended only for a few friends to read.

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