Public Broadcasting Faces Crucial Year in Congress

Hearings begin Feb. 25

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Attached is an editorial memo on a new campaign for Common Cause, preserving the vitality and independence of public broadcasting in the face of Congressional scrutiny.

Nearly 40 years after Common Cause founder John Gardner assisted in the birth of public broadcasting, some members of Congress are criticizing certain public broadcasting programs as biased and have called for more government oversight. The Bush Administration has signaled that it wants to limit the editorial independence of public broadcasting.

But Common Cause believes the editorial independence of public broadcasting must be saved. “The public needs an independent source of information to speak truth to power – no matter which party is in office,” said Common Cause President and CEO Chellie Pingree. “Public broadcasting does this better than anything else since it does not rely on advertising revenues and ratings to survive. At a time when more and more news outlets are owned by fewer and fewer corporations, public broadcasting remains our last, best hope of informing citizens about issues vital to our democracy.”

The first of several congressional hearings on the issue will be the week of Feb. 23 on Capitol Hill.

Download the edit memo – (PDF)

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