CPB, PMA statements on House NPR defunding

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Here are statements that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting just released on today’s (March 17) House vote to prohibit federal funding for NPR dues and programming:

From CPB:

Today, the House passed a bill that would significantly restrict public broadcasting stations’ ability to acquire programming that they feel best serves the needs of their communities.

Every day, these stations serve the informational and educational needs of the public with programming that contributes to the health and well-being of the country in a way that would not be possible without federal support. The American people overwhelmingly agree that public broadcasting is a service worthy of the federal investment.

At a time when international events, such as the recent uprisings in Libya and the earthquake in Japan, have a direct and immediate impact on this country, public media serves as a trusted source for informative, in-depth coverage of international, national and local news. Rather than penalize public broadcasting, the debate should focus on strengthening and supporting this valuable national asset.

From the Public Media Association, the new entity created by the Association of Public Television Stations and NPR:

This legislation, which would destroy a public radio system that has served the American people well for 40 years, has been passed by the House without the benefit of a single hearing on the subject.

While it is portrayed as a deficit-reduction measure, the legislation has been preliminarily scored by the Congressional Budget Office as saving not a single penny.

While it has been portrayed as responding to the will of the American people, the legislation in fact defies the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans, who have consistently said they support continued funding of public broadcasting and view it as the second-best use of tax dollars, exceeded only by national defense.

Public radio provides an essential public service — covering local, national and international news more comprehensively than any other news medium, preserving and promoting American music and culture as no other medium will do, and considering public affairs in a civil, dispassionate and highly trusted manner that helps insure that a well-informed citizenry is well-equipped for the responsibilities of self-government in a complicated and dangerous world.

And it does all this for pennies per taxpayer, reaching Americans everywhere for free. While improvements in this successful system are a constant topic of conversation within our industry, and would be a welcome topic for consideration with our federal representatives, the dismantling of the system — which is the real effect of this legislation — makes such improvements impossible.

The only result would be the loss of thousands of jobs in this industry, the closing or severe restriction of hundreds of local stations serving small-town and rural America which depend on federal funds for 30 to 100 percent of their annual budgets, including program acquisition, and the loss of vital information for millions of Americans.

This cannot be the way the Congress of the United States wants to make public policy. It is certainly not what the American people expect of their elected representatives. We call upon the United States Senate to reject this most unwise and unworthy legislation.”

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