Chester seeks recommitment to noncommercialism

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While urges its troops to back “permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling” for pubcasting, media reform activist Jeff Chester wants to see a trust fund only if it supports a “truly noncommercial” system. Such a system would reserve 30 percent of its funds for news and public affairs, air kidvid without commercial underwriting and bring in half of its programs from independent producers. He advises: “We shouldn’t help save ‘Big Bird,’ if all the public is going to get is more of the same of what we have today.” Chester discusses his recommendations in Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy, just published by the New Press.