FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHERE: 1225 S. Clark Street
Arlington, VA 22202
WHEN: Thursday August 12th, 2021 10 AM ET
August 11th, 2021 — Tomorrow, August 12th, 2021, activists from CODEPINK, World Beyond War, Environmentalists Against War, Veterans For Peace-Chapter 113 Hawai'i, Hawai'i Peace and Justice, Massachusetts Peace Action, Emmy and Peabody award-winning director Eugene Jarecki, award-winning documentary filmmaker Petra Costa, Patricia Foulkrod, Lekha Singh, and Robert Carl Cohen — the first American to direct a documentary on China in 1957 — will deliver a letter to the Public Broadcasting Services headquarters in Arlington, VA.
The letter, with over 3,600 signatures, calls on PBS to stop censoring Peter Getzels’ and Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn’s documentary film Voices from the Frontlines: China’s War on Poverty.
The documentary examines the techniques and the 5 levels of government that coordinated to bring 800 million people out of poverty and eliminate extreme poverty in China entirely. The film utilizes the same style and methods as previous documentary work on China by Getzels and Kuhn that aired on PBS to critical acclaim and won an Emmy.
Peter Getzels, director of Voices from the Frontlines: China’s War on Poverty, maintains that what changed wasn’t the authenticity of his content but the political environment that has increasingly less tolerance for positive stories and perspectives on China. “We didn't change the way we work, we didn’t change our perspective, and yet the world changed, the zeitgeist changed, and we find ourselves in the vicissitudes of being subject to current political trends and habits,” says Peter Getzels.
PBS’s “Mission & Values” claim to use “media to educate, inspire, entertain and express a diversity of perspectives,” including with “documentaries that open up new worlds,” but instead they are foreclosing perspectives into China by censoring this documentary.
“PBS is a publicly-funded entity that owes the taxpayers who support its programing educational and unbiased information.” says Madison Tang, coordinator of the CODEPINK China Is Not Our Enemy campaign. “Yet PBS is censoring a documentary that offers neutral, rational insight into poverty alleviation policies the Chinese government has implemented for its citizens during a critical time of heightened anti-China rhetoric and Congress’s ramp-up of hybrid war on China. By censoring this film, PBS is essentially forcing U.S. citizens to pay for propaganda and anti-China bias on PBS programming. PBS must reinstate this documentary to provide the fair and balanced perspective that its viewers need and deserve.”
Media from this action will be available here.