Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/02/07

Group sues as TV fund is cut
The Hillsborough commission faces claims of censorship.
by Bill Varian
St. Petersburg Times (FL)

TAMPA – The last time Hillsborough County commissioners tried to stop paying for a public access cable channel, the station forced them to back down by using their own words against them. Some commissioners had publicly objected to occasionally lurid programming, enabling lawyers for the station to claim censorship of free speech.

A new lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, claims that a recent vote by commissioners to again cut funding is a return to censoring ways. But this time, station lawyers are using the commission’s silence against it. The suit says commissioners simply wised up and have sought to conceal censorship by not saying anything during budget meetings to explain the cut. “The commissioners who voted no said absolutely nothing,” said David M. Snyder, lawyer for Speak Up Tampa Bay, the nonprofit group that runs the station. —>

Attorney General To Fight For Statewide IPTV Service, Consumer Rights (CT)
Media NewsWire

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said today that he will ask the Department of Public Utility Control ( DPUC ) to reject a franchise application by AT&T’s internet television service.

“This new application by AT&T seems to accept that they must seek a franchise, but makes a sham of meeting the franchise requirements,” Blumenthal said. “This application fails to comply with federal and state law because it provides no guarantee that every citizen will be offered the service. This requirement is one of the very few federal franchise obligations, but clearly violated by this application.

“AT&T seems to have abandoned their previous argument that they are not a cable company and therefore need no franchise. They make no mention of their past contentions that they are not a cable company and therefore need not meet cable requirements. But their silence means nothing in the light of their varying contentions. Their switch in position is apparently to use this new law in contending that they can be granted a less demanding ‘franchise lite,’ giving them all the profit, but none of the responsibility for serving the public.

“We will insist that they meet all federal requirements for a franchise in Connecticut, including a schedule for a full build-out servicing all customers. Competition must benefit all customers and citizens to be meaningful. I will continue to vigorously fight to assure that all Connecticut consumers enjoy the full benefits of competition and choice. All citizens should have access — not just residents of wealthy or readily served areas. AT&T cannot be allowed to cherry pick customers and deny others the same right.” —>

AT&T Files to Become ‘Competitive Video Provider’
Connecticut AG Opposes Application As Telco Says State Law Provides ‘Clarity’ to Continue U-verse TV Rollout
by Todd Spangler
Multichannel News

AT&T filed an application Monday with the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control to become a “certified competitive video provider,” a new designation provided for under a state franchise-reform law. Meanwhile, the state’s attorney general continued to oppose treating the company any differently from incumbent cable providers…

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Monday he will ask the DPUC to reject AT&T’s franchise application because the law does not guarantee that all residents will have access to the Internet Protocol TV service. In municipalities across the country, AT&T has repeatedly argued that U-verse TV is different from traditional cable service and thus not subject to the same regulations.

“This new application by AT&T seems to accept that they must seek a franchise, but makes a sham of meeting the franchise requirements,” Blumenthal said, in a statement. “All citizens should have access [to U-verse] – not just residents of wealthy or readily served areas.” —>

New Canaan senior takes her TV show from school to cable
by Monica Potts
The Advocate (CT)

During her first college interview two years ago, Taylor Clarke, then a sophomore at New Canaan High School, was asked how she took advantage of being so close to New York City. “I thought to myself, I really don’t,” said Clarke, now an 18-year-old senior and a news editor and co-anchor of the school’s television station. “I think being in the New York tri-state area, you just have a reservoir of talent. I mean, big executives and big names that work in the city, that live in the suburbs, and I feel like it’s largely untapped. Or I felt like it was.” Inspired, she founded a group called Global Leaders of Tomorrow.

Through the group, Clarke arranged events that brought some of the most influential business leaders in the country to the school, including the presidents of ABC, NBC and CBS Sports and James Dunning, the financier who donated money for New Canaan’s stadium. By the time she interviewed these professionals, she had already talked to Brian Williams, the “NBC Nightly News” anchor and a New Canaan resident, about the future of network news when he attended the inauguration of the school’s TV station.

“We put on events about twice a year to talk with students about what skills . . . and character attributes they think students should be developing now in order to succeed in the global workplace,” she said. Clarke decided the whole community should be able to attend the events, so she started a show on Channel 79, the cable access station. “I came up with the name ‘View From the Top’ because the content of the show centers around the advice and wisdom from the people I interview, all of whom have reached the top of their respective fields,” she said.

Clarke decided over the summer to take “View from the Top” on the road. She applied for media credentials to many events and received permission to broadcast from the Louis Vuitton Cup, a sailing race in Spain and the Aspen Ideas Festival, held by the Aspen Institute in Colorado. She interviewed some of the world’s top sailors and attended seminars with leaders such as Colin Powell and former President Clinton. —>,0,5259269.story?coll=stam-news-local-headlines

Community Media Access Collaborative Annual Meeting
Fresno Famous (CA)

Individuals and community organizations are invited to learn about the benefits of public access media and how to help bring this important resource to Fresno County. For more information, call 488-1922. Location: Cornerstone Conference Center, 1545 Fulton Street, Fresno. Thu Oct 18 2007, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm

Alliance to still get cable TV fees to fund community channel
by Stephanie Ujhelyi
The Alliance Review (OH)

Alliance City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday that will keep a franchising system of sorts in place. When Gov. Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 117 it opened up the market to allow numerous cable and satellite providers to pursue community television viewers. However, an amendment reinstated the cities’ rights to charge a video service provider fee in the amount of 5 percent, which is the amount communities like Alliance received through the franchise fee.

Alliance kept 60 percent and deposited it in its general fund while giving 40 percent to Alliance City Schools for the operation of its Carnation Cable Access Channel 11. “By enacting this legislation, we can continue to support student learning in the television and media arts, which then also will benefit the community by continuation of local cable television,” said Councilman Alan Andreani, R-at large, and co-sponsor of the ordinance along with Councilman Roger Rhome. —>

Community access now in town’s hands
by Kathryn Koch
Marshfield Mariner (MA)

The town will take over operation of local cable access television under the terms of a new 10-year contract with Comcast cable in a move that cable advisory committee members say will reinvigorate Marshfield’s local cable programming.

Marshfield’s Cable Advisory Committee and Boston attorney William Hewig announced to selectmen Monday night that they have agreed to terms with Comcast renewing their cable license agreement. The agreement dictates that Comcast will make an initial payment of $100,000 to the town within 35 days so the town-incorporated Marshfield Community Access Inc. can start operations. “I think it’s going to be a lot better,” Hewig said. “It’s now going to be your programming, not Comcast programming.” —>

Community TV service already stirring interest
by Jacob Fenton
The Intelligencer (PA)

Community TV is still months away in Upper Moreland, but would-be directors have been calling in to ask just when they can get their own airtime. “We’ve already received requests for broadcasts even though we haven’t received the service yet,” said township manager David Dodies. —>

MCTV works with your community
by Ron Beacom (MI)

A sense of community is sometimes lost in today’s world. Neighbors don’t know neighbors, citizens don’t take part in government, and when people do try to raise their voices, they’re often tough to hear through the din of information that is amplified through the airwaves and cables that come into our homes.

The City of Midland provides a service that can and does bring back that sense of community. It’s Midland Community Television (MCTV).

Through MCTV, you can watch your neighbor performing with the local concert band or offer a prayer at a church service, you can monitor how your local tax dollars are being spent, and you can exercise an important muscle, your right to free speech, to produce your own television show about issues important to you. —>

Media center’s fundraising campaign a success
The Grand Rapids Press (MI)

GRAND RAPIDS — Representatives of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center were to announce today the completion of a $2.4 million capital campaign. A last-minute surge of giving pushed the nonprofit’s nearly three-year fundraising drive to its conclusion, representatives said. The media center secured a capping donation of $300,000 from the Peter M. Wege Foundation. The announcement was to be made at Wealthy Theatre, 1140 Wealthy St. SE.

Some of the money will go toward continuing improvements for the theater, which the Community Media Center acquired in 2005. Money raised during the campaign has paid off the $500,000 debt that led to the dissolving of the nonprofit group that previously ran the venue. —>

Humboldt County libraries or going digital
By Sean McLaughlin
The Times-Standard (CA)

—> Digital Humboldt Libraries is building next generation digital communications with broadband (Gbps) connections to a fiber optic network dedicated for Public Education and Government (PEG) purposes. The PEG Network is provided by Suddenlink Communications and managed by Access Humboldt on behalf of the County and local Cities – Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna, Rio Dell, Ferndale and Blue Lake.

The first phase of Digital Humboldt Libraries will be installation of Wi-Fi networks at several local library branches. The broadband wireless networks will then be interconnected via the PEG Network to provide interactive digital media services, including live TV transmissions and free public Wi-Fi access.

Access Humboldt’s local efforts are already becoming recognized nationally for PEG broadband innovation. A prototype of Public, Education & Government broadband service began operation as part of the Digital Rio Dell project – providing free Wi-Fi service to Rio Dell’s public library, along with City Hall and the Fire Hall.

The Digital Humboldt Libraries project extends PEG broadband developments for civic engagement that are creating new ways for local investment in the global marketplace of ideas. The project embodies the best of our local values – exploration, innovation and invention to build community intelligence that fosters economic empowerment as we boldly embrace the future. —>

Liberia: Journalists Pledge to Remain Uncompromising
by Sidiki Trawally
The Analyst (Monrovia)

The President of the Press Union of Liberia says the Liberian media will remain resolute in exposing corruption in the government, public and private sectors. George Barpeen said while the role of the media is critical in Liberia’s new democracy, a lot must be done if such democracy is to florish in the country. Addressing the Liberian Media Forum in Providence, Rhode Island Saturday, Barpeen said most past government officials have viewed the media as opposition and have strong-arm tactics to contain or intimidate its effort to ensure that democracy is sustained. —>

Athas, Humiliate Sri Lanka in the face of International Community, Says SLA Spokesman
Tamil Eelam News Services

—> The Sri Lanka is among the worst place in the earth, said The International Press Freedom Mission, which includes IFEX members the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Press Institute (IPI) and RSF all of their visit to Sri Lanka in last June. The press release from The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) which represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries, says, attacks against Sri Lankan journalists signal choking press freedom.

So long as journalists continue to be subjected to fear and attacks on their personal security, Sri Lanka cannot be assured of a free press that is capable of serving the public’s fundamental right to know, IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. The IFJ urges the authorities to step up protection for journalists suffering harassment.

“The FMM expresses it serious concern at the continuing violence directed against journalists and the media in the country,” the Free Media Movement (FMM) said in a statement.

The seriously worsening situation in Sri Lanka for the journalists and journalism are continuing unabated in Sri Lanka with impunity especially for the Tamil journalist and making journalists to abandon their profession or flee the country, according to another media rights group in Colombo.

Free Media Movement (FMM) said, attacks, killings and abductions of media staff and journalists are on the increase, not a single investigation into attacked, abducted and murdered journalist has been carried out to completion by Sri Lanka’s government. At least 10 media workers killed in Jaffna since May 2006. —>

Birmingham prostitutes, clients will be shamed on TV in council’s plan
Birmingham News (AL)

The Birmingham City Council today approved a resolution to shame prostitutes and their clients by placing their pictures on a public access cable channel upon conviction. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, freedom of the press, high school television, municipal broadband, municiple wi-fi, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, redlining, U-Verse, video franchising, youth media

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