Charles Benton, chairman and CEO of the Benton Foundation, is calling on philanthropists to step up their personal involvement in the fight against media consolidation.
Benton, will voice his call to arms Tuesday night in Toronto as he accepts a lifetime achievement award in philanthropy from the Council on Foundations, will tell the crowd: "I believe the future of media and communications in America is cause for serious concern," according to an advance excerpt from his acceptance speech.
"As we move from an analog world to a digital one, we are truly at a crossroads. At stake is who controls what we see, hear, and read. At stake is our ability to get our message out and make a difference. At stake is nothing less than the health of our democracy."
The Benton Foundation, along with other media advocacy groups, is pressing the government to impose local election, kids programming and other public interest obligations on digital broadcasters.
The foundation was established by Charles' father, William, founder of ad agency Benton & Bowles and publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica.