Right before Valentine's Day, Leigh Vickery wrote an article about the ongoing use of forced, trafficked and child labor in the cocoa industry for the Tyler Paper in Texas. Soon after the article was posted, the Tyler Paper made the decision to remove the article and instead posted an article by the paper's Business Editor that relies only on misleading information from business linked to these abuses. The move by Tyler Paper to silence Leigh's story cannot hide the reality that egregious labor rights abuses continue in the supply chains of many of the biggest chocolate companies.
Leigh's article is currently posted on the International Labor Rights Forum's blog here.
This is by no means the first time that powerful forces have tried to silence journalists who reveal abuse in the cocoa industry. In July 2010, Change.org activists helped secure the release of three journalists in Cote d'Ivoire who reported on an inquiry into corruption in their government's management of the country's cocoa. Now it's time to spring into action again!
Join us in telling Tyler Paper's management to re-post Leigh's article, apologize for censoring her writing and commit to returning to integrity to its reporting.
Photo credit: VaGla
- Editor, Tyler Paper
- President/Publisher, Tyler Paper
Nelson Clyde IV
- Managing Editor, Tyler Paper
I am shocked and disappointed that the Tyler Paper removed a recent article about labor rights abuses in the cocoa industry. As confirmed by the US Department of Labor, the US Department of State, the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University and many other sources, abusive child labor, forced labor and trafficking continue in the cocoa industry in West Africa ten years after chocolate companies committed to ending this exploitation.
By removing the article by Leigh Vickery, the Tyler Paper has chosen to only portray a biased and demonstrably inaccurate view of the reality facing the farmers who produce the main ingredient in the chocolate we enjoy on Valentine’s Day. This move shows a lack of journalistic integrity.
I call on TylerPaper.com to:
1) Re-post the original article;
2) Post an apology for removing the story and failing to provide a balanced view of labor rights abuses in the cocoa industry; and
3) Commit to upholding the principles of freedom of expression and honest journalistic investigation.
I look forward to your swift attention to these issues.
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