Bagdikian book stirs censorship controversy

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Media critic Ben H. Bagdikian, whose new book, ''The Media Monopoly,'' attacks the concentrated corporate ownership of news sources, recently became involved in a censorship controversy himself. His book, published by Beacon Press in Boston, gained attention when a large New York publisher, Simon & Schuster, asked for changes in the manuscript and threatened to sue if the book was published as written. The book describes an incident at Simon & Schuster in which a book entitled ''Corporate Murder'' was rejected by Simon & Schuster president Richard Snyder because ''it made all corporations look bad.'' Simon & Schuster is owned by the giant corporation Gulf & Western.

Simon & Schuster denied the incident took place as described. It asked for the passage to be changed and for the right to examine the rest of the manuscript before publication. Bagdikian and Beacon Press refused. ''They (Simon & Schuster) took an extraordinary move which, if it succeeded, would be a disaster for all the media'' and ''contrary to the First Amendment,'' Bagdikian says.

Simon & Schuster did not return calls from the Monitor regarding the incident.

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