The Media Access Project announced on Tuesday that it will be shutting down its operations in May because of funding difficulties.
The public interest law firm said its board has decided to suspend operations on May 1 because of the "difficult funding environment facing MAP and other progressive public interest groups."
The group was founded in 1973 and represents clients that promote the free flow of information and free speech and diversity in electronic and other forms of new media. MAP has four full-time staff and one part-time staffer, according to Andrew Jay Schwartzman, the group's senior vice president and policy director. MAP has worked to oppose media consolidation such as the Comcast-NBC Universal merger and pushed for network neutrality rules, which supporters say are necessary to help maintain the openness of the Internet.
"The problem isn't that there are too many groups; the problem is that there isn't enough money," Schwartzman said when asked if there was a glut of similar groups competing for funding.
Public Knowledge President and CEO Gigi Sohn, who worked at MAP for 10 years, said she was "saddened" to hear that MAP would be shutting its doors. "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," she said in a statement.
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