Welcome to the Free Press blog! We post several times a week on everything from Internet access to free speech to media mergers, so check back often to see what we’re up to.

  • Filmmaker Ken Burns Defends PBS

    February 28, 2011

    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.

    Burns wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post on Sunday, saying:

    • Media Ownership Rules Go to Court

      February 24, 2011

      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.

    • House Eliminates Public Broadcasting Funds in 2011 Budget

      February 19, 2011

      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.

    • FCC Expands Investigation of Fox Station

      February 18, 2011

      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.

    • Free Speech Online UnderAttack

      February 17, 2011

      Yesterday, Republicans in Congress introduced a "resolution" in both chambers that would give phone and cable companies absolute, unrestricted power over Internet speech.

    • New Study Finds Investment in Public Media Leads to Better News

      February 17, 2011

      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.

      Public Media and Political Independence: Lessons for the Future of Journalism from Around the World was released Tuesday during a panel discussion that featured several prominent media scholars and journalists.

    • Free Press Congratulates Electronic Frontier Foundation on 21 Years of Service

      February 16, 2011

      Free Press wishes to offer our congratulations and thanks to EFF for their work on behalf of the American public.

    • PBS Cameraman: Leave Our Funding Intact

      February 16, 2011

      As we all know, we’re facing difficult decisions in how to deal with our nation’s federal deficit. We’re also in the midst of a journalism crisis. 

      Some lawmakers have suggested that now is the opportune time to cut federal funding for public broadcasting, and tomorrow, many may vote to do so. My experience interacting with the public every day suggests this would be a grave mistake.

      I have been working for the past six years as a videographer producing content for UNC-TV, North Carolina's state-wide PBS network. The communities we serve depend on us to provide truth in journalism, life changing educational content and crucial information every day. 

    • Members of Congress Join One Million Americans to Take a Stand for Public Media

      February 16, 2011

      Public media isn’t our politicians’ plaything; it’s our nation’s mainstay for crucial news and diverse and alternative programming. And while a few lawmakers are fervently calling to gut funding for public media, many others are bellowing back that we must protect America’s public media.

      The House of Representatives’ proposed budget entirely guts funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Members of the House will vote on the budget tomorrow.

    • Does Secretary Clinton Have a Double Standard on Internet Freedom?

      February 15, 2011

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday highlighted new U.S. Internet freedom policy that is designed to help democracy movements gain access to open networks and speak out against authoritarian regimes.

      According to Clinton, the program will provide $25 million in new grants to support "technologists and activists working at the cutting edge of the fight against Internet repression."


    People + Policy

    = Positive Change for the Public Good

    people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good