Benton Welcomes New Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn

Adrianne B. Furniss, Executive Director

Benton Welcomes New Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn

Adrianne B. Furniss named Gigi Sohn Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate.

Furniss said, “The Benton Foundation is honored to support the ongoing work of one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable, and democratic communications networks. As federal and state policymakers change rules that will impact communications for years to come, there is no better spokesperson than Gigi Sohn to raise the profile of issues like net neutrality, privacy, broadband access and affordability, and competition so that all Americans understand what’s at stake.”

Broadband internet access has become essential to full participation in our society, our economy, and our culture. Sohn will continue to broaden citizen awareness and action through three strategies:

  1. Public Voice: Communicating what is at stake in telecommunication debates in ways that ordinary people can understand; and educating and providing comment for national, local, and trade press on various communications and technology policy issues.  Sohn seeks both greater coverage of these issues by the press and greater understanding of these issues by the public.
  2. Coalition Building:  Identifying, organizing, and activating partners from public interest groups, state and local representatives, and companies large and small.
  3. Support for the Field: Ensuring that the community fighting for public interest communications policies is adequately resourced with the funding, contacts, and strategic guidance it needs to be effective. 

"I’m extremely grateful to the Benton Foundation and Adrianne Furniss for supporting my work," said Sohn. "From net neutrality, to privacy, to major mergers, the American people are more aware than ever before why communications policy is important. Working with our colleagues in the public interest community and industry, I hope to turn that awareness into action, and that action into policies that will ensure open, affordable, and universally accessible communications networks for this generation and beyond."

Sohn continues as a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, a position she has held since early 2017. From 2013 to 2016, Sohn was Counselor to former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, advising him on a wide range of internet, telecommunications, and media issues. For twelve years, from 2001-2013, Gigi served as the Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, one of the leading communications policy advocacy organizations serving the interests of consumers in Washington. She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, the first public interest law firm in the communications space.

Benton, a non-profit, operating foundation, believes that communications policy—rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity—has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities to bridge our divides.