Trouble Ahead for Public Broadcasting
Upcoming Hearings Will Affect Independence & Future Funding of Public Stations

February 20, 2004

In the next two months, Congress will hold hearings in both the House and Senate that will impact the future of public broadcasting.  The current system relies on a blend of support from the government, nonprofit institutions, and individual citizens.  The mission of pubic broadcasting is to facilitate the development of, and ensure universal access to, non-commercial high quality programming.  Congressional opponents of the current system have threatened to challenge the long standing editorial independence that was one of the core reasons public broadcasting was created.  We also anticipate the public broadcasting foes will try to undermine the disbursement of the limited amount of government funds the system receives. 

In an era when the FCC has allowed further concentration of media ownership, and with mergers such as Comcast and Disney possibly on the horizon, a strong and independent public broadcasting system is more important than ever.  It must be protected from efforts to politicize and privatize it.

Common Cause is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the serious political challenges ahead for public broadcasting and to enable citizens to weigh in with their elected officials on this very important issue.  We need your help.

Take Action!

Here’s what’s at stake:

  1. The independence of public TV could be at risk from efforts to allow political interference with the content of programs on National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
  2. Stable, long-term funding for public TV could be tampered with, making it more vulnerable to political pressure and influence.
  3. Popular shows like Frontline, Nova, and American Experience could be in jeopardy if funding for national programming is reduced or cut off altogether.

The programs you see and hear on public television and radio stations play a critical role in the flow of ideas and information in our democracy.
Take Action.  Write to Congress and ask your Senator and Representative to support legislation that keeps public broadcasting free of political interference and provides long-term funding.

Forward to a Friend.  This issue has not received a lot of attention in the press.  We need your help in spreading the word.  Forward this email to a friend and encourage them to get involved!

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