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.
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."
Since we broke the story on Jan. 28 that the U.S. company Narus has been selling Internet spying software to Egypt, members of Congress and other government officials have become increasingly alarmed -- and some are even calling for investigations.
We live in paradoxical times.
The core institutions and systems that have supported journalism in America for
decades are weathering a perfect storm of challenges that have undercut our
country’s longstanding information infrastructure. At the same time, a new
generation of news and journalism organizations is driving a renaissance in
local reporting and reinvigorating our media system.
This shifting media landscape
has inspired a range of important reports and initiatives designed to help
chart a course toward stronger journalism and media in America. In report after
report, America’s public and noncommercial media sector has been held up as a
core component of the future of hard-hitting, accountability journalism.
When the political upheaval in Egypt erupted late last month, many Americans hoped their cable news networks would be quick to cover the unfolding events. Instead, outlets like CNN, MSNBC and Fox News failed to cover the crisis in Egypt at all, and then struggled to play catch-up with international news organizations.
When millions took to the streets of Egypt last week to protest the Mubarak regime and call for democratic reform, the Egyptian government responded by cutting off Internet access and people’s ability to communicate with one another and the outside world.
After a bruising battle over state funding for the New Jersey Network, the public media system in New Jersey, the state is now facing another assault on independent and non-commercial media. However, this new legislative challenge strikes at the heart of New Jersey's information infrastructure, threatening to eliminate low-cost Internet for schools and libraries, and decimating community access TV.
Oscar will have plenty to be grouchy about if bills in Congress become law. Three bills are circulating that would cut or even entirely eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting.
In response to the attacks, public stations across the country have started a campaign called “170 Million Americans” to remind people of the benefits of public media. Jeff Nelson, managing director for public strategies for Minnesota Public Radio, reflects on the potential cuts in this week's podcast of Media Minutes. Listen here.