The following press release was issued this morning by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN), of which Riverfront Times is a member.
ALT-WEEKLIES SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH PHOENIX NEW TIMES, PROVIDE WEB LINKS TO MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO'S HOME ADDRESS
WASHINGTON, D.C. October 23, 2007 Member papers of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN.org) this week are providing links on their websites that direct their readers to the many places on the Internet where the home address of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is listed.
Last week, Phoenix New Times' founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested and jailed after the paper published a story about the grand jury and subpoenas they had received that demanded detailed Internet records of any person who had visited the newspaper's website since 2004, as well as all notes and records from any reporter who had written about the sheriff in the preceding three years. [Phoenix New Times is owned by Village Voice Media, which owns sixteen newsweeklies nationwide, including Riverfront Times.]
"The actions of Mr. Thomas and Sheriff Arpaio in this case are beyond outrageous," said AAN Executive Director Richard Karpel. "They abused their offices by engaging in Gestapo-like tactics designed to silence a newspaper that has been highly critical of them in the past."
Added AAN First Amendment Chair Tim Redmond, executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian: "Our association and its members won't tolerate this sort of attack on the right of a member paper to publish information that is and ought to be public record."
"This was a victory for the First Amendment, the constitution and for our readers right to read our newspaper without the government spying upon them," said Larkin and Lacey in a joint statement. "As the Federal press shield legislation moves from the House to the Senate, we hope people will remember what happened to reporters, editors and readers in Phoenix."
Phoenix New Times has published dozens of stories critical of both Thomas and Arpaio. In fact, the paper maintains an archive on its website of its coverage of Arpaio since he was elected sheriff in 1992:
New Times published Arpaio's home address in a story arguing that he abused a state law that allows law enforcement officials to keep their addresses from being made public. New Times said Arpaio used the law to hide nearly $1 million in cash real-estate transactions.
Thomas convened a grand jury to investigate the case even though Arpaio's home address was then and continues to be easily accessible on a number of other websites, including the Maricopa County Recorder's official website (see first link below):
recorder.maricopa.gov (click "2004 Financial Disclosure Statement" for PDF)
Arpaio continues to resist New Times' request for information relating to his real estate holdings.
Here is the list of AAN papers that have agreed to post these links this week on their websites:
Artvoice (Buffalo, NY) Arkansas Times The Beat (Greenville, SC) Birmingham Weekly Boise Weekly Boston's Weekly Dig Charleston City Paper Cincinnati CityBeat City Pages (Minneapolis) Colorado Spring Independent Dallas Observer Houston Press Independent Weekly (Durham, NC) Independent Weekly (Lafayette, La.) L.A. Weekly Louisville Eccentric Observer Memphis Flyer Metro (San Jose, Calif.) Metro (Santa Cruz, Calif.) Metroland (Albany, NY) Miami New Times Monterey County Weekly Nashville Scene New Times Broward-Palm Beach North Bay Bohemian Nuvo (Indianapolis, Ind.) OC Weekly Philadelphia Weekly The Pitch (Kansas City) Portland Mercury (Portland. Ore.) The Pulse (Chattanooga, Tenn.) The Reader (Omaha, Neb.) Riverfront Times (St. Louis) San Antonio Current San Francisco Bay Guardian Santa Barbara Independent Santa Fe Reporter Scene (Cleveland) Seattle Weekly Seven Days (Burlington, Vt.) SF Weekly Shepherd Express (Milwaukee) The Source Weekly (Bend, Ore.) The Stranger (Seattle) Syracuse New Times Tucson Weekly Urban Tulsa Weekly The Village Voice Westword (Denver) Willamette Week (Portland, Ore.)
As daily newspaper readership continues to deteriorate, as radio and television audiences become progressively more fragmented, as competition for the 18-to-39-year-old demographic soars in an already cluttered marketplace, alternative newsweeklies continue to engage young, active, educated and influential readers.
Since its founding in 1978, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies has grown to include 130 free-circulation weekly newspapers throughout North America. More than 25 million print and online readers in markets as diverse as Memphis and Montreal, Pittsburgh and Pasadena, Chicago and Charlotte, rely on their local alternative newspaper for local news, political opinion and arts coverage they won't find anywhere else.
For more information about AAN, go here.