Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy

"The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy is a group of 17 media, policy and community leaders. Its purpose is to assess the information needs of communities, and recommend measures to help Americans better meet those needs.

"The Knight Commission sees new thinking about news and information as a necessary step to sustaining democracy in the digital age. It thus follows in the footsteps of the 1940s Hutchins Commission and the Kerner and Carnegie Commissions of the 1960s.

"But in the digital age the stakes are even higher. Technological, economic and behavioral changes are dramatically altering how Americans communicate. Communications systems no longer run along the lines of local communities, and the gap in access to digital tools and skills is wide and troubling.

"The Commission seeks to start a national discussion – leading to real action. Its aims are to maximize the availability and flow of credible local information; to enhance access and capacity to use the new tools of knowledge and exchange; and to encourage people to engage with information and each other within their geographic communities."

The Knight Foundation has been criticized for its connection with U.S. national security agencies.
This from
"The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (also known as the Knight Foundation), is a major supporter of seemingly "independent" media projects, and was created in 1940 with monies generated from the Akron Beacon Journal. Since 2005, the president and CEO of the foundation has been Alberto Ibarguen, the former publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Ibarguen maintains impressive democracy-manipulating credentials, as he is a US member of the imperialist Inter-American Dialogue, board member of the CIA-linked Council on Foreign Relations, and has held high-level appointments within a number of media-manipulating groups like the Freedom Forum's Newseum, and the Inter American Press Association. Ibarguen, however, is a board member of the newly formed and ostensibly progressive investigative journalism project, Pro Publica -- for a critique of this organization's work see "Investigating the Investigators: A Critical Look at Pro Publica."

The Knight Foundation supports a number of media projects, one of which is the Internews Network. This is a significant show of support as the Internews Network is a large media agency that has a long history of collaboration with the US government and the National Endowment for Democracy. Created in 1982, Internews, like CIMA, promotes a special brand of independent media; that is, media that is independent -- or free -- of any questioning of the hegemonic US media.(4) In 2005, the president of Internews, David Hoffman, co-wrote an article (with conservative commentator Helle Dale) in which he observed that his network played a crucial role in the "war of ideas," a war that he believes should rely upon the "two pillars of American democracy -- free enterprise and free media."

This commentary is part of an article by Michael Barker entitled: "Global Media Managers"

(Swans - March 9, 2009) On January 13, 2009, the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), a recently formed international media manipulator, released a report titled, "Soft Censorship: How Governments Around the Globe Use Money to Manipulate the Media." The report documents the manner in which various governments manipulate media systems within their own countries (e.g., the Ukraine and Chile). Significantly the report fails to identify the US government's extensive efforts to manipulate media systems in those same countries or the conduct of CIMA itself. When it is revealed that CIMA is a project of the US government's CIA-inspired National Endowment for Democracy (NED) this failure is contextualised. For example, by providing strategic support to local media projects the NED played a key role in facilitating Ukraine's Orange Revolution (in 2005), and in catalysing the ouster of Chile's resident dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1987. (1)