Media Access Project, the public-interest law firm that helped stay media ownership rule changes sought by broadcasters, and raised objections to a number of high-profile media mergers, but also stood beside broadcasters in helping challenge the FCC's indecency enforcement rules, is closing its doors May 1.
Andy Schwartzman, who has been its chief lawyer and guiding spirit, said the group simply ran out of money.
"Lots of public-interest groups have had a hard time raising money," he said, "and we felt we could not maintain operations at the level of professionalism we aspire to."
The shut-down affects three full-time staffers and one part-timer. MAP was started in 1973 to help clients "seeking to promote the free flow of information and a diversity of voices in the electronic mass and emerging media."
"We are sad to read the announcement of the Media Access Project suspending its operations," said Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn. "Through the years, MAP has provided an invaluable voice for the public interest on a range of issues, including the public responsibility of broadcasters, to media ownership and, in more recent years, many of the most prominent policy disputes of the Internet age."
"MAP staffers are, and were, valued colleagues. The organization has provided opportunities for a wealth of talented and dedicated advocates, PK Legal Director Harold Feld and PK COO Brooke Rae-Hunter among them."
The group plans to throw a going-away party for itself, and the communities it has touched, in May.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.