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WASHINGTON, DC-Activists claiming suppression of their right to free speech plan to gather here today, and in cities around the country, to demand that Ken Ford of the National Association of Home Builders resign as vice chairman of the board of Pacifica Foundation, which operates the Pacifica radio network.

The protesters will gather in front of NAHB headquarters at 1201 15th St. in the District from Noon until 2 pm.

The protests are the continuation of an ongoing battle between certain supporters of Pacifica’s traditional activist radio format and those on the board, including Ford that they claim are changing the mission to a corporate culture. At the center of the debate is the claim of these activists, led by Ursula Ruedenberg of New York, that Ford and NAHB have attempted to block protests, including a website and e-mail letter writing campaign.

Steve Freedkin operates the website www.progressiveportal.org. In a press release dated June 26, Freedkin claimed that NAHB executive Gerald Howard sent him a letter stating that the association was “exploring options for legal action. … We strongly urge you to take down your web page.”

Freedkin and Ruedenberg claim that this pressure resulted in Earthlink, the website’s ISP, directing Freedkin to stop the letters.NAHB spokeswoman Donna Reichle could not confirm or deny any involvement by Ford or anyone else at NAHB in affecting the website, nor could she provide Ford’s title at NAHB.

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