ARLINGTON, Virginia, JUNE 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, consisting of 354 member television stations, is banning all new religious programming, though it will allow current shows to continue.
After meeting last week at the service’s east coast headquarters in Arlington, the board decided to enforce a ban on its member stations, with the threat of losing taking away their network affiliation in the case of non-compliance.
These stations receive much of their content from independent producers and sources outside the broadcasting service.
In some cases, these sources include Catholic dioceses that rely on the stations to broadcast Sunday Mass on television for shut-ins in Washington D.C., New Orleans and Denver.
Due to its non-profit status and reception of federal funding, the service has traditionally adhered to a standard of only accepting programming that is “noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian.”
However, until now, this definition was not understood to exclude religious shows.
After a review of the policies, the board decided to uphold the ban on religious programs, but compromised by allowing shows with a previous history on the station to continue.