November 18, 2010; Washington, D.C. – Today, good judgment prevailed as Congress rejected a move to assert government control over the content of news.
The proposal to prohibit public radio stations from using CPB grants to purchase NPR programming is an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority into local station program decision-making. Furthermore, restrictions on the authority of CPB – a Congressionally chartered, independent non-profit organization – to make competitive grants to NPR, or any other public broadcasting entity, is misguided.
For more than forty years, the federal government has provided financial support for public broadcasting – to serve the public interest with essential educational, news and cultural programming that commercial interests neglect.
America's independent, locally governed and managed public radio stations have always had the freedom to make programming decisions based on the needs of their audience and local community. The separation between funding and funders and content decisions is a widely respected, long held and fundamental standard of a free press.
In an increasingly fractious media environment, public radio's value in fostering an informed society has never been more critical. Our growing audience shows that we are meeting that need. It is imperative for federal funding to continue to ensure that this essential tool of democracy remains available to all Americans and thrives well into the future.