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Charles Benton, the chairman of the Benton Foundation and a longtime champion of community media, public broadcasting and universal broadband access, died Wednesday.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Benton. He was a pioneer in the movement for better media and a stalwart ally in countless fights to bring the benefits of technology to everyone. He dedicated his life to the public interest and shared his wisdom and passion with many of us who follow in his footsteps. We’ll miss his contributions to the vital debate about strengthening the media and our democracy. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and the staff of the Benton Foundation."

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