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‘A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy’ – New PBS special explores how Americans are working to strengthen Democracy – January 2

New Documentary A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy Explores Dr. Richard Haass’ Best-Selling Book “The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens” January 2 on PBS

Examines how Americans are working towards strengthening democracy and renewing the spirit of a more informed and engaged citizenry as the U.S. enters this election year

The U.S. Capitol (Photo courtesy of The WNET Group)

Heading into the 2024 election year, the political landscape is heating up as American citizens become more engaged. In an effort to strengthen American democracy, A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy explores obligations everyday citizens can fulfill to help heal our nation’s divisions and safeguard the country’s future. Based on Dr. Richard Haass’ bestselling book “The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens,” the obligations proposed include “Being Informed,” “Staying Open to Compromise,” “Valuing Norms,” “Respecting Government Service” and more. These obligations are commitments that are made to fellow citizens and the government to uphold democracy and counter the growing apathy, anger, selfishness, division, disinformation, and violence that threaten the nation. Hosted by veteran PBS correspondent Hari Sreenivasan (Amanpour and Company, Take on Fake, PBS NewsHour), A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy premieres Tuesday, January 2 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org and the PBS App. Through interviews with senators, governors and more along with real-life examples, Hari Sreenivasan and Dr. Haass explore how community members are working towards strengthening democracy and renewing the spirit of a more informed and engaged citizenry by putting the obligations into action.

Hari Sreenivasan and Dr. Richard Haass (Photo courtesy of The WNET Group)

A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy spotlights examples were taking Dr. Haass’ proposed obligations to heart have yielded solutions for institutions and communities. Shedding light on the optimism and activities of Americans fully committed to preserving democracy, the film features the voices of a racially, geographically, and generationally diverse slate of citizens.

To dive deeper into how communities around the U.S. are putting these principles into action, a new digital series based on the 10 obligations will also premiere in February 2024. This series will cover fact-checking with MediaWise from the Poynter Institute, will spotlight an exhibit featuring Jay-Z at the Brooklyn Public Library, and more.

The film is part of Preserving Democracy, a reporting initiative from The WNET Group, covering this critical national issue.

The former President of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations and an experienced diplomat and policymaker, Dr. Richard Haass has served in the Pentagon, State Department, and White House under both Democrat and Republican administrations. In his book “The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens,” Haass argues that “rights” alone cannot provide the basis for a functioning, much less flourishing, democracy.

The Washington Monument (Photo courtesy of The WNET Group)

A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy is directed by Ann Benjamin and executive produced by Dana Roberson. Stephen Segaller and Neal Shapiro are executives in charge. It is a production of The WNET Group. Funding for A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy is provided by Kimberly Querrey, Dean Dakolias and Monique Cusson, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Leslie and Ashish Bhutani, The Chang K. Park Foundation, and The Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

About The WNET Group

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