Political censorship provokes hunger strike


Since August 30, Ben Alterman, an inmate at Loddon Prison, Castlemaine, has on an indefinite hunger strike to protest the withholding of mail, including newspapers, magazines and books, and the confiscation of political posters from his cell.

In February, Alterman, who has written articles for Green Left Weekly, the Anarchist Age Monthly Review, Rank and File News and Angry People, undertook a 14-day hunger strike for the same reason.

Then, as now, he is challenging the prison authorities' claim that the political material he receives is detrimental to "the good order and management of the prison". Despite lodging complaints with the prison authorities and the ombudsman, Alterman has received no response. He says he intends to continue his protest until his complaints are dealt with.

To support Alterman's anti-censorship action, send letters to: Ben A. Alterman, Locked Bag 3, Castlemaine 3450. Protest letters should be sent to the Governor, Loddon Prison, Locked Bag 3, Castlemaine 3450; fax 054 711 211; State Ombudsman, 12th floor, 303 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000; Correctional Services, Head Office, 452 Flinders St, South Melbourne 3205; and the State Public Services Federation, 390 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000.