Pop + Politics
New York Daily News
Deepa Fernandes’ book: Targeted
Video: National Conference on Media Reform, 2007-01-22
Deepa Fernandes was
born in Bombay, the daughter of Syvie & Joe and sister of
Sujatha. The family migrated to Australia when she was still
a toddler and she grew up in Sydney. She worked there as a news
reporter at Sydney Community Station 2SER before moving on to
Latin America to travel & report at the age of 20. Her interest
in the region was sparked off when she was 18 after her sister
gave her a copy of Angela Davis' Autobiography.
Deepa found work
in Ecuador and got her first job there at age 21, working as
a sound producer and location producer for a 21 part documentary
series on the indigenous communities of Ecuador. She says that
this was the most incredible experience of her life so far.
She ended up staying there and working and not returning to
University in Australia where she had been mid-way through a
From there she went
to Cuba and worked at Radio Habana and studied at the University
of Havana. After that it was on to Mexico where she worked on
radio projects on indigenous communities in Chiapas and had
begun using NY as her base.
In 2000 Deepa founded
a youth radio program called Radio Rootz which today is a program
of a larger Media Justice organization she directs, called People's
Production House. (www.radiorootz.org). The organization teaches
youth and immigrant workers how to be journalists and how to
hold the media accountable for its coverage of local communities.
In 2001 Deepa got
a job producing the radio show, Democracy Now which was followed
by hosting Free Speech Radio News and now Wakeup Call, Mon –
Thu (6-9 am EST) online at http://stream.wbai.org/
For archives see http://www.wakeupcallradio.org/
Deepa Fernandes has
worked as a freelance producer for ABC & BBC World Service
and across the Pacifica Network. Her first book, Targeted: National
Security and the Business of Immigration is due out in Jan 2007
– for details click
Deepa lives in Harlem
and makes frequent trips to India, including Goa. Her parents
still live in Sydney, Australia - her mother is a yoga teacher
and her father an urban gardener. She has an older sister who
is a professor of Political Science at Queens University in
New York City. Deepa is attached to and misses very much her
grandmother, Teresa, who lives in Perth Australia. Her partner
is a music journalist and documentary maker.
hobbies include Yoga, Gardening, Cooking and Music. Her ambitions
• To grow our media justice organization, people's production
house and put the tools of media making into the hands of communities
who have been most excluded from it.
• To empower our communities to tell their stories and
to have their issues represented the way they want them represented.
is still a lot of fire in that belly!
Deepa Fernandes Starts Mon. as Wakeup Call
A New Day at WBAI/Pacifica Radio: Young South Asian Woman Takes
Reins of Drive-Time Radical Radio Starting June 13 - Deepa Fernandes
continues WBAI's progressive morning tradition …
has a track record of going where few reporters venture, to bring
a truly global perspective to listeners. In 2002, she was there
when the East Timorese won their independence. In 2003, she spent
a month in Venezuela providing up-to-the-minute reporting on the
oppositions strike. Last year, she reported from Haiti as President
Aristide was forcibly removed from his country. She has reported
from the Mexican jungles, the Ecuadorean highlands, the forbidden
streets of Havana and the slums of her native India …
progressive media community is full of praise for Fernandes' shake-'em-up
is a seasoned, unembedded, international journalist who bridges
the diverse communities of the WBAI listening area.
Deepa Fernandes, dfernandes at wbai.org
Up Call. By Christabel Nsiah-Buadi
For full text, 1115 words click
Up Call," which was first broadcast in 1992, is New York
City’s longest running independent drive-time radio show
(mainly older, male) management of WBAI … made the bold
-- and revolutionary -- move of selecting Deepa Fernandes, a young
South Asian female journalist who grew up in Australia, to be
the new host of its morning flagship show.
selection made a few people nervous… there were people who
were opposed to the idea of having a young foreign-sounding woman
hosting "Wake Up Call."
those people needn’t have worried. There were plenty of
listeners who were excited by Fernandes’ return to the WBAI
looks like Deepa Fernandes might have sparked the fire in the
belly of progressive radio …
WBAI morning show seeks wider appeal. By David
Deepa Fernandes says the station is not abandoning its mission
as an alternative to most other radio and media.
is a favorite of progressives and it's admired for its independence,
but some listeners see it as a home for tedious left-wing finger-pointing.
Fernandes and the "Wake-Up Call" team would love to
shed that image, which she calls inaccurate and unfair.
much of WBAI, "Wake-Up Call" does focus on the exploding
immigrant population and their issues. "Immigrant communities
are badly underserved in the media," says Fernandes, who
has written a book on the "Immigration Industrial Complex"
and reported for Pacifica's Free Speech Radio News from Timor,
Haiti, Cuba, her native India and elsewhere.
says that just doing "Wake-Up Call" keeps her busy enough
right now. "On most days," she says, "Sharan and
I are looking to cap it out at 16 hours."
Targeted: National Security and the
Business of Immigration. By Deepa Fernandes
Date: January 2007.
Targeted, journalist Deepa Fernandes seamlessly weaves together
history, political analysis, and first-person narratives of those
caught in the grips of the increasingly Kafkaesque U.S. Homeland
Security system. She documents how in post-9/11 America immigrants
have come to be deemed a national security threat.
an immigrant well-acquainted with U.S. immigration procedures—takes
the reader on a harrowing journey inside the new American immigrant
experience, a journey marked by militarized border zones, racist
profiling, criminalization, detention and deportation. She argues
that since 9/11, the Bush administration has been carrying out
a series of systematic changes to decades-old immigration policy
that constitute a roll back of immigrant rights and a boon for
businesses who are helping to enforce the crackdown on immigrants,
creating a growing “Immigration Industrial Complex.”
She also documents the bullet-to-ballot strategy of white supremacist
elements that influence our new immigration legislation.
price: $16.95. To pre-order from Amazon.com for $11.53 click
Video: Deepa Fernandes at the National Conference on Media
13 Jan 2007: Plenary Speech, Memphis, TN. "To me, Media Justice,
is about changing who is at the table at every level, so that
our communities are represented and have power in content production,
ownership, policy and regulation. Disenfranchised communities
don’t just want to be invited in, and we don’t just
want a mic put in our hands. We want to own the mic and own the
station. And we don’t want a say in setting the rules, we
want to call the game and play on our
court." Video, 11m. 42s at click
For text, click
links to more information about Deepa Fernandes click
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