We have just announced a plan to "take public broadcasting to the people," working with the Consumers Union, Commom Cause and the Consumer Federation of America to propose a series of local hearings across the country where the public will talk directly to broadcasters and policymakers about the future of public broadcasting.
In a report released today, "A New Standard: Building a Public Broadcasting System that Deserves Public Support," Free Press called for "a public ascertainment process" before lawmakers and bureaucrats attempt to set politically motivated standards for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and other public broadcasters.
The report recommends a series of town meetings that include a broad array of constituencies, elected officials, and decision makers from local PBS and other noncommercial stations. It was released following a series of recent statements by politicians, bureaucrats and commentators that questioned the viability of PBS and other noncommercial media.
Recent appointments to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) raise additional concerns that a partisan agenda may have overtaken the agency that Congress put in place to safeguard public broadcasters from political interference and commercial pressure.
Many across the political spectrum seem willing to abandon public broadcasting, allowing it to turn it into a purely commercial enterprise. It is critical to bring viewers out to talk about what they want and how they would like to get it. And the only way to save PBS and other noncommercial media is from the bottom up.
Policy and programming decisions should not be based on the perceived interests of the public deduced by partisan political leaders and bureaucrats.