Now They Come for the Children

In a blog post today, Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly suggested a reconsideration of “ineffective and burdensome requirements” that television broadcasters air minimal amounts of educational and informational programming for children. The following statement may be attributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss:

Former FCC and DoJ Staffer Jon Sallet Pens "Antitrust is Law Enforcement"

Jon Sallet is the new Benton Senior Fellow. Jon's work focuses on policies to preserve and protect internet openness, to advance competition more broadly, including through antitrust, and to support Federal Communications Commission actions to protect privacy, security, and broadband deployment. Jon was the FCC General Counsel/Acting General Counsel (2013-2016), and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Litigation, Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice (2016-2017). 

Benton Supports Lawmakers' Letter to FCC about Lifeline Program

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and Congresswoman Gwen S. Moore led a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai expressing concern with recent changes to the Lifeline Program, which provides a modest monthly subsidy of $9.25 to connect low-income Americans to phone and internet service. Representatives Meeks and Moore issued the following statement regarding the letter, which was signed by 56 other House Democrats and supported by groups such as the Benton Foundation, the NAACP, Communications Workers of America, Public Knowledge, and many others.

Benton Asks FCC to Walk the First Amendment Talk When Considering Broadcast Ownership Rules

From the earliest days of broadcasting, federal regulation has sought to foster the provision of programming that meets local communities' needs and interests. The FCC’s rules have been rooted in the core values of localism, competition, and diversity. Any changes in FCC rules should be aimed at expanding the multiplicity of voices and choices that support our marketplace of ideas and that sustain American democracy and creativity.

Benton Foundation Saddened U.S. is Leaving UNESCO

Benton Foundation Saddened U.S. is Leaving UNESCO The U.S. Department of State announced on October 12, 2017 that the United States will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The following statement may be attributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss: Assistant Secretary of State William Benton, my grandfather, played an instrumental role in the creation of UNESCO in the wake of World War II and later served as United States Ambassador to UNESCO from 1963 to 1968. Benton realized that increased international understanding demanded that all people have access to modern means of mass communication, which, at the time, meant newspapers, radio, and motion pictures. The Benton-led American delegation to UNESCO’s charter conference wove Benton’s ideas into the fabric of UNESCO which aimed to facilitate continuous and close international contacts among scientists, teachers, and societies. UNESCO continues to work to ensure every child and citizen has access to quality education, lives in a cultural environment rich in diversity and dialogue, benefits from scientific advances, and enjoys full freedom of expression. These aims are as important now as they were in 1945. The Benton Foundation and I are saddened that the U.S. is backing away from our ideals and international commitments. 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.