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WTO: Commerical Radio Hijacked In Sydney

RadioJack | 15.11.2002 17:04

A pirate radio broadcast jammed commercial radio signals this morning by the so-called Institute For Applied Piracy disrupting usual programming by blocking commercial signals for 10 minutes with an anti-WTO report.

Scoop internet news agency (new zealand)Friday November 15th

The commercial radio world is in uproar over the unprecedented events of this morning on the day of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) mini-ministerial meeting in Homebush, Sydney.

A pirate radio broadcast jammed commercial radio signals this morning by the so-called Institute For Applied Piracy disrupting usual programming by blocking commercial signals for 10 minutes with an anti-WTO report.

The transmission explained to listeners that the WTO abuses human rights, world health, worker's rights, the environment and increases inequality between rich and poor. The WTO's practices are literally killing people.

The broadcasters believe that these issues have a real impact on real people yet ordinary Australians aren't being made aware of the facts.

"The media has not given any coverage to the real issues behind the WTO," said the radio pirates. "It has only given sensationalist coverage of protesters being trampled by police horses, and no explanation of why people are protesting. The media is neglecting its obligation to inform Australians about the issues important to their lives."

The influence of the WTO is evident in the lack of discussion of these issues in Australian media. Say the broadcasters, "We're not invited to contribute to the media so we're forced to shout over the top of it!"

A transcript of the broadcast ...

Good morning 2Day FM. Welcome to a pirate radio broadcast on the day that selected members of the World Trade Organisation are meeting in Homebush here in Sydney.

As we speak many thousands of protesters are flocking to the Olympic stadium in Homebush where today's WTO meeting is being held. So what is so bad about the WTO that people are prepared to risk becoming the victims of police violence and media vilification to protest against it?

The reason people are so passionate ABOUT SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE WTO is that the WTO makes decisions that affect the whole world. And yes Sydney, this includes you.

The World Trade Organisation is an international body that exists to promote international free trade, at any cost.

Its influential members are first world governments such as the U.S., but they represent the wishes of their corporations rather than ordinary citizens.

In its own words, the WTO exists to eliminate what it defines as "barriers to trade", but increasingly people around the world are finding that what is being
removed is simply their basic rights.

From human rights, workers rights and free speech, to public health, education and the environment, these issues are steamrolled by the WTO in the quest for profit. The thousands of concerned citizens heading to Homebush this morning are protesting against the WTO's valuing of
profits over people.

Now its easy to think that a group of high fliers making decisions about trade is a bit irrelevant to you, but actually their decisions have impact on almost every aspect of your life, from your wages and conditions at work to education, health, the food you eat, to indigenous
issues and the environment.

The fundamental difference between the WTO and other international bodies is that the WTO exists expressly to advocate the interests of business and does not represent the interests of citizens. The WTO sees issues of human rights, worker's rights, health and the environment
simply as 'barriers' to trade, and forces governments to neglect these issues, or suffer penalties. Under WTO law, it is illegal to give preference to a company just because they have good human rights or environmental practice. It is also illegal to discriminate against a company because they have a bad human rights record or cause environmental damage.

With these laws, how can we prevent trade in endangered species or toxic waste? How can countries limit exports of food when there is a national famine, or of tree trunks when the forests are laid waste? How can we guard against human rights abuses and child labour in sweatshops?

The WTO also penalises countries in other ways. If our government urges us to 'Buy Australian Made', it will be penalised by the WTO. If an impoverished country with a starving population tries to give financial assistance to its farmers to provide food for their own people, the WTO
will penalise that government. In fact, policies that give preference to the use of local materials or labour are illegal under WTO laws.

These rules of the WTO are unfair because they favour rich developed countries and have terrible impact on developing countries. For example, their laws promoting free trade allow floods of cheap imports to wipe out the livelihoods of small farmers. Maize prices received by poor Mexican farmers have halved since Mexico was forced to opene its borders to cheap US maize, causing havoc in the countryside.

But even more unfair is that the richest countries break these rules, under the WTO's blatant double standards. For example, the WTO has a law that makes governments reduce subsidies to farmers, yet loopholes in this law allow western governments to increase the support to their own
farmers - the United States forks out $US20,000 per farmer per year in subsidies.

The WTO encourages human rights abuses in its quest for "free trade". It gives advantage to countries that break international labour and human rights rules.

The WTO laws override existing national laws, deeming them all 'barriers' to trade and sweeping aside all environmental, social or public health considerations.

WTO rules have had a devastating effect on world health in an effort to protect the profits of large drug companies. 6 - 7 million people in developing countries die every year from preventable diseases, because the WTO prevents them from accessing basic medication.

In Africa, 11 million people have died of AIDS, yet the WTO discourages governments from buying cheaply-produced generic life-saving drugs, insisting the rights of drug companies to protect their profits through patents is more important than saving lives.

The WTO does not even allow countries to refuse to import a product that may be hazardous to health or destructive to the environment unless they have undeniable scientific proof to the satisfaction of the WTO. Canada,
the world's biggest asbestos producer, hopes to take advantage of this to force Europe to import the carcinogenic substance again.

The rules passed by the World Trade Organisation [WTO] protecting patents mean that the world's indigenous peoples cannot use the medicines they have used for thousands of years, and find they have to buy back their traditional knowledge from corporations.

So if the WTO is so extreme, why don't ordinary people know more about it? The answer is that commercial media doesn't cover these issues - if people knew how their lives were affected by the WTO's decisions and how the interests of corporations overrode the needs of people, there would
be a worldwide revolution. Commercial media is protecting its own profits by suppressing discussion about the WTO. We are prevented from taking part in the media - so now we're forced to shout over the top of it!



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