For Immediate Release: 2/8/2016
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta 209-479-2053
Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, 209-938-9053
Veteran fisheries reporter Dan Bacher asked to media event, then denied access
Sacramento – Daniel Bacher, a veteran Northern California journalist specializing in fisheries, received a media advisory in late January announcing a media teleconference being held by Californians for Water Security to “discuss the urgency of implementing California’s Water Fix” (aka The Delta Water Export Tunnels).
The media advisory read in part…
“On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., the day before the State Water Resources Control Board holds its initial meeting to consider issuing permits for the California Water Fix, supporters including water experts, environmentalists and business and labor interests will host a media teleconference to discuss the importance of implementing the Governor’s plan to update our aging water infrastructure.
“The California Water Fix has endured nearly a decade of extensive expert review, planning and scientific and environmental analysis by the state’s leading water experts, engineers and conservationists, and unprecedented public comment and participation.
“The coalition urges the Water Board to approve the petition as the only viable plan to protect the health and water quality of the Delta, while securing water supplies for nearly 2/3 of our state’s homes, farms and businesses.“
Speakers included Rich Atwater, Executive Director, Southern California Water Committee; Jerry Meral, California Water Program Director, National Heritage Institute; and Michael Quigley, Executive Director, California Alliance for Jobs.
Bacher, a longtime editor at Northern California Angler Publications, publishers of the Fish Sniffer magazine, was surprised by what happened next:
“When I called in and talked to the conference staff, four people in a row told me I wasn’t on the ‘approved credentialed media list,’” said Bacher. “I asked them, ‘So why did they send me a media advisory about the event (twice!) when they didn’t want me to get on the call?’”
It appears that Californians for Water Security, the “coalition” created by corporate agribusiness interests to promote the California Water Fix plan to build Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels, does not want independent journalists to ask them any tough questions about the controversial water project.
“This is sad, but not surprising behavior from the Delta Tunnel advocates,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “Are they banning all press that do not agree with their point of view? Or just the ones who have attempted to inform the public regarding the tunnel impacts? If these proponents of the Delta Tunnels are so sure science and public opinion is on their side, what do they have to fear from a fisheries journalist? Hard questions from journalists enable public oversight and accountability in our democratic society.”
“Dan Bacher has been one of the few journalists in California covering the decline of native fish species. He has been on the front lines of that story for decades and deserves a spot in any media event that will impact California water and Delta water flows. Dan asks tough questions, as any good journalist should. Typically, one only bans journalists when you have something to hide and you want or need to manipulate what the citizens of CA are allowed to know. If you only want stenographers attending your media event don’t invite real journalists,” said Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.
Bacher’s articles on fish, water and environmental justice have been published in an array of publications, including the Appeal Democrat, daily kos, the East Bay Express, Sacramento News & Review, Native California News, elkgrovenews.yet, yuba.net, indybay.org and Counterpunch. Bacher is a member of the Freelancers Guild of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, Communications Workers of America (CWA) AFL-CIO, Local 39521.
Reporters interested in this story may contact Mr. Bacher for more information:
Dan Bacher, Fishsniffer Magazine, 916-677-1786, [email protected]
Californians for Water Security offers no telephone contact information on their website, but inquiries can be sent to their email [email protected]
Pro-Delta Tunnels Group Bars Journalist from Media Teleconference
For Immediate Release: 2/8/2016