The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 18           May 8, 2006  
More dailies grant anonymity to interviewees
SALT LAKE CITY—Only a month after criticizing one of this city’s Spanish-language newspapers for using a pen name in a byline, the Salt Lake Tribune has itself begun granting anonymity to immigrants who are interviewed by its reporters. “To protect the identity of undocumented immigrants, only first names are used in this story,” read the editor’s note at the head of an article on an immigration raid in Tooele, Utah, in the daily’s April 22 edition.

The article, “Fear of unknown: The other side of crackdown,” is one of many such stories recently written by Jennifer Sanchez for the Tribune. Sanchez also authored a March 17 Tribune article, “Spanish-language journal uses fake bylines,” attacking the weekly Mundo Hispano. “In a democratic society, with guaranteed freedom of the press,” Sanchez wrote at the time, Mundo Hispano’s use of a pen name was “unethical.”

The practice of papers granting anonymity to workers and others for fear of being victimized when speaking out is becoming more common—an implicit admission that freedom of speech is not guaranteed under bourgeois democracy.

The January 22 New York Times published an interview with a miner at the Alma No. 1 mine in Melville, West Virginia, where two workers died on the job after a fire erupted along a conveyor belt carrying coal out of the mine. “This was not the first such fire, said one Alma miner, who was granted anonymity because he feared reprisals from his employers,” the Times reported. The article went on to quote the worker explaining how he put out another fire in the same spot earlier, when the sprinkler system didn’t work, and how the supervisor ignored his report.

More recently, an April 23 New York Times article, “Young Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld,” said the reporter did not use the names of those interviewed. “To protect their careers, the officers were granted anonymity so they could speak frankly about the debates they have had and have heard,” it stated.
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