On Tuesday, April 21, 2009, the station owner, RJ Watkins, informed Marian Kramer and Maureen Taylor, co-hosts of the popular, “Ask Welfare Rights Show,” that they would not be allowed to criticize former Highland Park Emergency Financial Manager, Arthur Blackwell–a friend and investor of Mr. Watkins.
The previous night, Marian Kramer attended the City of Highland Park City Council meeting where Mr. Blackwell and his supporters tried to distract from the firing of Mr. Blackwell who paid himself nearly $300,000 from the city–after agreeing to oversee finances for his native town for $1 per year!
MWRO and other community shows on WHPR pay an hourly fee for broadcast and production assistance. Following this censorship, the Michigan Citizen interviewed Mr. Watkins as saying that MWRO could talk about Mr. Blackwell “at home or on the telephone, but I have a right to say they don’t talk about it on the air.”
Marian Kramer retorted: “Maybe that is so, but it is our right to stop people from supporting the station.”
Read Marian Kramer’s full story about these incidents at the People’s Tribune. Ms. Kramer is consulting with an attorney about reporting the matter to the proper authorities, and possibly boycotting the station.
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization broadcasted the “Ask Welfare Rights Show” on WHPR for over eight years. It provided regular updates and information about available public assistance benefits, “Know Your Rights” facts, and commentary on issues pertaining to low-income and poor people in southeast Michigan.
For more information or to voice your concern, call the MWRO office at (313) 964-0618.
(Image from MWRO)