The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

New Research Highlights Value of Public Media

As Congress Threatens U.S. Public Broadcasting, Study Shows How the Rest of the Globe Supports It


With funding for public broadcasting under attack in Washington, a new report shows how the rest of the world has successfully supported vibrant public media systems.

In a panel discussion Tuesday, Feb. 15, Rodney Benson and Matthew Powers of New York University, authors of Public Media and Political Influence, will examine the ways that government can promote quality, independent journalism.

  • Event: Public Media and Political Influence: Lessons for the Future of Journalism from Around the World
  • Date: Feb. 15, 2011
  • Time: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., preceding reception begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Location: 20 Cooper Square, New York, NY, NYU, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, 7th floor commons
  • Presenters: Rodney Benson and Matthew Powers, NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication


  • Emily Bell, Director, Columbia University Tow Center for Digital Journalism
  • Ellen Goodman, Professor of Law, Rutgers University - Camden
  • Vince Stehle, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Hartmut Wessler, Professor, University of Mannheim Department of Communication

In their study of public media systems in 14 countries, Benson and Powers analyze how these countries fund public media and ensure their autonomy. Public media in these countries are legally protected from partisan political interference, guaranteeing journalistic independence. As a result, public media - television, radio, newspapers and online news - typically provide more and higher quality public affairs coverage and a wider range of viewpoints, and are more critical of government than their commercial media counterparts.

Public media in the United States are consistently rated among the most trusted media sources in public opinion surveys. Yet the U.S. public media system is among the poorest in the world: Per capita public funding of PBS and NPR is less than $4, compared to $30 to $130 per capita invested by countries like Germany, Canada, Sweden and Great Britain.

The event is co-sponsored by Free Press, New America Foundation, NYU Steinhardt's Department of Media, Culture and Communication and the Social Science Research Council.

Reporters interested in attending the event should RSVP to Jenn Ettinger,

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

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