Transparency and Accountability

Corporate and governmental transparency and accountability are vital to a functioning democracy. This is especially the case in an era when so much money is being traded for political influence in the United States.

If you don't know how power works in this country — and you aren’t allowed to see the financial interests that often lurk behind prominent political voices — it's next to impossible to make meaningful decisions at the polls.

The problem of financial ties between government and corporate special interests is prevalent in the media realm, where Federal Communications Commission regulators and congressional staff routinely leave the public sector for high-paying jobs as corporate media lobbyists and public relations flacks.

Moreover, some of the most powerful broadcast companies are fighting efforts to make them better disclose the flood of money they pocket to air political attack ads during election cycles.

Without true transparency and accountability, the media’s traditional role as democracy’s guardian of the truth is deeply compromised. Free Press is active on several fronts to expose the financial interests that corrupt policymaking — and to demand accountability to the public in a media system that’s awash with conflicts of interest.

 

Blog Posts

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Press Releases

  • Senate Confirms New FCC Chairman

    October 29, 2013
    WASHINGTON -- Late Tuesday, the Senate unanimously confirmed Tom Wheeler as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Michael O'Rielly was also confirmed as a commissioner.
  • FCC Chairman Genachowski to Step Down

    March 21, 2013
    WASHINGTON -- The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce on Friday that he will step down from his position as head of the agency. Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement: "When Julius Genachowski took office, there were high hopes that he would use his powerful position to promote the public interest. But instead of acting as the people's champion, he’s catered to corporate interests."
  • Free Press Report Examines the Absence of Political Ads on Spanish-Language TV

    November 2, 2012
    On Friday, Free Press released Missing Out: Political Ads, Spanish-Language TV and the Latino Vote, a report analyzing political ad spending in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida and New Mexico. Political ad buys have skyrocketed to record-breaking levels nationwide, and much of that money is being spent in swing states, particularly by Super PACs and other third-party groups. But in the three states studied, Free Press found that few political ads have aired on Spanish-language stations.
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Resources

  • Left in the Dark: Local Election Coverage in the Age of Big-Money Politics

    With more than $3.3 billion in political ad spending projected by Election Day, Free Press has turned its attention to the local television stations airing these ads. Left in the Dark explores whether stations barraging viewers with political ads are balancing this out with coverage of the role money is playing in this year’s elections. Read the full report here.

    September 24, 2012
  • Money, Media and Elections Tumblr

    Check out our Tumblr, mediamoney2012.tumblr.com, for the latest news on our political file work.

    Free Press fought in the field, at the FCC and in court to get broadcasters to post their political files online. These files contain crucial information about who’s paying to sway our vote.

    August 21, 2012
  • Public Interest Public Airwaves Coalition Opposition to Stay of FCC Disclosure Rules

    Intervenors Free Press, Benton Foundation, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, New America Foundation, and Office of Communication, Inc. of the United Church of Christ (collectively Public Interest Public Airwaves Coalition or “PIPAC”), by its attorneys, pursuant to F.R.A.P 18 and 27, and D.C. Circuit Rules 18 and 27, respectfully opposes the Emergency Motion for a Stay Pending Judicial Review (“Mot.”) filed by Petitioner National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) on July 10, 2012. NAB seeks a stay of the effective date of the FCC’s Second Report and Order in MM Docket No.

    July 20, 2012
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News from Around the Web

  • Campaign Ad Cash Lures Buyers to Swing-State TV Stations

    New York Times
    July 8, 2013

    The increasingly expensive elections that play out across the country every two years are making stations look like a smart investment, with the revenue piling up each time a candidate says, “I approve this message.”

  • Organizing After Snowden --- What Are the Next Steps?

    Waging Nonviolence
    June 12, 2013

    Ever since news came out about Edward Snowden’s leak of secret National Security Agency surveillance programs, there have been both denunciations of Snowden and widespread expressions of support. Both the Obama administration and the technology companies entangled in the programs are under heightened scrutiny. But what does the leak mean for organizing?

  • The Epic Online Battle Against NSA Spying Has Begun

    Daily Dot
    June 11, 2013

    Eighty-six Internet companies and organizations sent a letter to Washington demanding the formation of a Congressional committee to investigate the NSA’s surveillance tactics and “reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying.” The coalition — including Mozilla, Reddit, Greenpeace, BoingBoing, and the American Civil Liberties Union — has also launched a petition at StopWatching.Us.

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  • Public and Political File Inspections

    TV broadcasters use the public airwaves for free in exchange for a commitment to serve and inform their communities. If you want to know what your local broadcasters are doing to meet those obligations, the best place to look is their public files.

    And the political files broadcasters are required to maintain include essential information about who is buying political ads and how much they are paying.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good