Over the past few weeks
I've been tracking the arguments of public broadcasting advocates
fighting efforts in Congress to defund the service. This week, defenders
got a bit of a reprieve, as Obama signed a two-week extension of the
the deadline for the Senate and House to devise a final funding bill for
Canadian Internet users rose up to defend Internet freedom when they beat back an attempt by the big telecoms to meter broadband usage. After a public outcry, both the liberal and conservative parties came together to stop the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission – the Canadian version of the U.S.
Revered filmmaker Ken Burns added his voice to the throngs of people defending public broadcasting from funding cuts in Congress.
Burns has been creating documentary films for 30 years, and some of his most notable productions include The Civil War (1990), Baseball (1994), Jazz (2001), The War (2007), and The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009). All of these films were produced with help from PBS.
Remember back in 2007 when the Federal Communications Commission voted to lift the 35-year-old ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership? We do, too. In fact, how could we forget; the impacts of years of media consolidation are all around us as newspapers slash staff and TV stations air fluff.
We thought the FCC’s decision was so egregious that we took them to court, and today Free Press and the non-profit organization Media Access Project (MAP) are presenting oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Early Saturday morning the House voted to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the institution responsible for distributing federal funds that support 1,300 local public broadcasting stations. The cuts were made as part of a larger budget bill targeting cuts of more than $60 billion in federal funding to numerous public programs. The fight now moves to the Senate.
This week, the efforts of a New jersey citizen media watchdog group are yielding results in Washington, and local Fox station WWOR is facing some tough questions. The Federal Communications Commission is expanding their investigation of WWOR for allegedly lying to the agency about their local programming and staffing of the Seacaucus, NJ station.
These days, broadcasters don’t lose much sleep over the license renewal process. Once every eight years, stations simply put a postcard in the mail to renew their right to use the public airwaves—what used to be an opportunity for community input and evaluation has become a simple rubberstamp process.
Public media is under attack in Washington, but a new report by Rodney Benson and Matthew Powers of New York University examines how expanding, not cutting, federal funding can actually promote quality, independent journalism.