Media Melee: Ethnic Press Fights for Access to RNC

Republicans relent under pressure after denying convention credentials to several major ethnic publications


| August 12, 2004


Republicans couldn't have picked a more cosmopolitan location for their upcoming convention. New York City is home to countless minority and immigrant communities, many of whom will be directly affected by the results of the 2004 election. Local ethnic newspapers, then, were shocked to find that their applications for press credentials to the convention were rejected, sometimes without any explanation. Though ethnic newspapers had no trouble accessing the Democratic National Convention in Boston, some New York publications feel they were given the run-around by Republicans. 'I think they suspected the ethnic media doesn't matter,' said Karen Juanita Carrillo of the Independent Press Association, an umbrella organization for smaller independent publications.

The trouble began last week when IPA members began having their credential applications denied, often with cryptic curtness. A reporter from the Haitian Times, for example, said her rejection letter was just two lines long, and didn't explain why her request had been denied. Moreover, her repeated requests for information following her rejection were fruitless. After pressure from the IPA, however, Republicans relented and granted the groups in question access to the convention. Macollvie Jean-Francois, the reporter for the Haitian Times, expresses the ethnic press's predominant thought about the incident: 'I'm wondering if they would treat reporters from the L.A. Times or the New York Times the same way. I doubt that very highly.'
-- Brendan Themes

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