Public interest law firm Media Access Project is shutting down, citing funding problems. MAP will suspend operations May 1, after a nearly 40-year run.
In an announcement, the MAP Board said it made the decision to close the doors “after evaluating the difficult funding environment facing MAP and other progressive public interest groups.”
Under MAP President/CEO Andrew Schwartzman, the group often squared off against broadcasters in regulatory issues on the Hill and at the FCC. MAP argued against loosening media ownership limits and was instrumental in the commission’s creation of the low-power FM service.
However MAP sided with broadcasters when defending the public’s First Amendment rights, noting those fights “have had a broad-reaching, enduring impact.”
MAP said one of its most enduring achievements is the training and mentoring of a large number of public interest advocates. “MAP alumni are founders, leaders and providers of the expertise and savvy for multiple organizations working to promote a free and diverse marketplace of ideas and whose work will continue.”
Indeed, Public Knowledge President/CEO Gigi Sohn worked at MAP for a decade and considers Schwartzman a mentor. She called MAP “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.”
In early May, MAP plans to host an event to celebrate its accomplishments “and to help retire its small debt.”