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A number of organizations have successfully fought to protect the public's rights with respect to broadcast media and use of the public airwaves. Some significant organizations and initiatives are described below.
Media Access Project: The Media Access Project was formed in the early 1970s. The organization described itself as an "exempt public interest media and telecommunications law firm which promotes the public's First Amendment right to hear and be heard on the electronic media of today and tomorrow." MAP was extremely helpful in supporting VNJ's initiatives, and we will always be grateful for their efforts. Unfortunately, the organization ceased operations in 2012 due to lack of funding.
Executive Order 13038 (The Gore Commission): In March 1997, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13038(click here to view the document) which created the Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters (otherwise known as the Gore Commission-- click here for information). The Commission, co-chaired by Leslie Moonves of CBS Television and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, issued a report to Vice President Gore recommending a program of federally mandated public interest obligations for broadcasters in the digital age. The Commission was charged with defining the public interest in broadcasting, investigating the various forms digital broadcasting could take, and recommending obligations that are technologically and economically feasible, effective in serving legitimate public interests, and sensitive to the First Amendment rights of broadcasters as speakers.
Alliance for Better Campaigns: After the Gore Commission issued its report in 1998, Les Moonves and Norm Ornstein co-chaired the Alliance for Better Campaigns. This organization was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts to implement the Gore Commission recommendations. The Alliance merged with the Campaign Legal Center in 2005. The Alliance's web site is no longer active, but selected pages are archived at the Alliance's Website Archive.
Campaign Legal Center: In 2005, the Alliance for Better Campaigns merged with the Center's Media Policy Program. The Campaign Legal Center "is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which works in the areas of campaign finance, communications and government ethics."
FreePress: Free Press "is a national nonpartisan organization working to increase informed public participation in crucial media policy debates, and to generate policies that will produce a more competitive and public interest-oriented media system with a strong nonprofit and noncommercial sector."
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign: The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is a "nonpartisan political watchdog group working for clean government and real democracy. To carry out this mission, WDC tracks the money in Wisconsin politics and works for campaign finance reform, media reform and other pro-democracy reforms". In 2005, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign challenged the licenses of Milwaukee TV Stations.
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