A public radio
program that defines its mission as "opening up the airwaves
to voices traditionally excluded from the political
process." It is broadcasted over all Pacifica
radio stations and some NPR
stations, as well as public access television
stations across the United States
. It originated at WBAI
in New York City, New York
, a Pacifica station, hosted by reporter Amy Goodman
. It was intended to be a temporary program to cover the 1996
Presidential elections, but soon fulfilled the network's need for a daily news program.
In August 2001, after a conflict with the management of host radio station WBAI, Democracy Now! moved its headquarters to "The Firehouse", the attic studio of the New York television station, Downtown Community Television. This enabled the program not only to be broadcast over television, but also to gain independence from Pacifica management, which has a long history of being contentious.
The program discusses issues which are not discussed in the mainstream news media and looks at issues from different perspectives. For instance, in the summer of 2002, while many news outlets had their cameras glued to the coal mine where nine workers were trapped, Democracy Now! discussed the involvement of the breakdown of coal miners’s labor unions by their parent company. They have also provided a voice to people who can’t seem to get one on the evening news, including Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Howard Zinn, Ramsey Clark, and rap artist/activist Michael Franti among others.
The program and its host has also won a number of awards. In 1991, when Indonesia invaded East Timor, Amy Goodman was one of two journalists who was there, and she witnessed the death of 250 East Timorese for radio. Soon after filing the report, she was expelled from Indonesia. When the program returned to cover East Timor's independence in June 2002, they had to enter through Australia, rather than Indonesia, where they are still banned. "Massacre: The Story of East Timor," won many awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton and the Armstrong Award. In 1998, Amy Goodman received the George Polk Award for journalism, for her documentary, "Drilling and Killing". The radio documentary examined the connection between the ruling dictatorship in Nigeria and the Chevron Oil Company.
Information about the program's awards came from the Democracy Now! website at: http://www.democracynow.org/team.htm