The news Tuesday that public-interest law firm Media Access Project was closing its doors at the end of the month drew condolences and praise from many in Washington, including the American Cable Association, smaller operators who found themselves on the same side in raising concerns about the size and power of some larger media players.
"The Media Access Project's withdrawal from the public policy arena is sad news for everyone who admires this fine organization. Over nearly four decades, the public has greatly benefited from the group's very effective advocacy, particularly with respect to its representation of resource-constrained clients who otherwise would not have a voice," said American Cable Association president Matt Polka.. "The rulings in which MAP participated were often better because of its tireless efforts."
"We are saddened to hear the news today that the Media Access Project is suspending operations," said Glen Echo Group president Maura Corbett. "MAP has been a trailblazer in public interest advocacy in areas fundamental to our society and our democracy. They have been intrepid leaders on issues ranging from communications competition policy, to broadcast and media consolidation, to the uncharted waters of Internet policy. Importantly, MAP has served as a boot camp for some of the finest public interest advocates in the industry."
Free Press president and CEO Craig Aaron said he was sad to lose a close ally in the "fight for better media."
"When the Media Access Project launched in 1973, it created a media reform movement built on the civil rights movement and gave the public a voice in media policy. Andrew Jay Schwartzman is a true pioneer in media reform and advocacy, " said Aaron, "and his contributions to the field are countless. We thank him for his tireless efforts to represent those who didn't have a voice in Washington and to make sure that the policies created at places like the FCC actually serve the people.
"We trust that not just Andy, but MAP's tremendous network of alumni, and all of us who have been building on the work he started, will carry on the fight for better media and a stronger democracy."