Last week, I contacted Judge Richard Berman’s office to get his email and/or fax number so I could ask him a series of questions in my capacity as an investigative journalist who has been researching the Dr. Aafia Siddiqui case since she disappeared in 2003 under mysterious circumstances.
I wanted to ask him about allegations he was running an apartheid system in his court whereby all Pakistani journalists were being shunted into an over-spill room and not allowed into the main courtroom where there are vacant seats for the media.
His assistant called ‘Rich’ called me back as I was writing my letter to fax to him and said the Judge has ‘banned me’ from sending the fax and if I had any enquiries I should put them in a hard copy letter and mail it to him.
I laughed and asked him what did he not understand about media deadlines and how no journalist uses ‘snail mail’ these days. He was adamant the judge had forbidden me from sending a fax. I asked Rich what he was going to do to enforce the judge’s wishes – stick a pencil in the fax machine.
It’s all very funny until you consider the thrust of my enquiries.
I’ve spent $50 dollars on a FedEx, which I’m now informed should be in the hands of the judge, but in the meantime this article  has been written.
I would have thought racism would have been a huge issue in America – the segregation of black and white or asian and American journalists, yet, there’s been nothing.
. A Pakistani on Trial –” With No Pakistani Reporters
by Petra Bartosiewicz, TIME magazine, January 23, 2010