The PBS Funding Standards and Practices articulate the core principles that ensure the noncommercial nature of all content distributed by PBS.
While financing from funders is critical to support the production of high-quality educational content, PBS will not accept funding that could compromise the editorial credibility or integrity of that content.
To preserve the public’s trust, PBS applies two tests when evaluating the acceptability of every proposed funder:
1. Editorial Influence Test
Content distributed by PBS should be produced with the highest ethical, journalistic, and professional standards in accordance with the PBS Editorial Standards and Practices. Content must be responsive solely to the needs of the public—not to the interests of funders. No funder may influence, or have the right to influence, content. For this reason, PBS will not accept content if a funder is able to provide editorial input.
2. Perception Test
To preserve the public’s trust, PBS also must guard against the potential perception that a funder has exercised editorial influence, even if no such influence occurred. For this reason, PBS will not accept content if it determines that the audience might reasonably conclude that PBS has compromised its independence or professionalism to a funder. The perception of editorial influence can include a funding arrangement that, on its face, appears so self-serving that the audience might readily assume that the primary purpose of the content is to promote the funder’s products, services, or other interests.
Each potential funder must be evaluated by PBS to ensure there is no editorial influence or perceived connection to content. Any agreement by PBS, PBS Foundation, or a producer to distribute content or accept funding is contingent upon this evaluation.
Updated: September 2018