Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/17/08

Journalists, rights activists flay new media curbs
The International News (Pakistan)

LAHORE – Journalists and human rights activists have slammed the recent Pemra directions to the media, barring TV channels from covering the voting process and airing comments of political leaders.  They demanded the government immediately remove the restrictions, saying these restrictions would give a clear message to the international community and the people that the electoral process was not transparent.

Talking to The News on Sunday, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Director IA Rehman told The News that the Pemra’s directions were an attack on the freedom of expression.  He said the people of Pakistan were already facing chaos and free and transparent elections were a ray of hope for them. “A question mark hangs over the credibility of the general elections after the recent Pemra restrictions,” he added.

He said representatives of journalists should hold negotiations with the government to remove these restrictions immediately. “The recent restrictions are a bid to hide something during the voting and they show that you (the government) are going to do something illegal or against the norms of society,” Rehman said, adding that foreign observers could not monitor the voting as efficiently as the local media.

He said though such directions had restricted the electronic media for exposing rigging and maltreatment of opposition leaders and workers during the voting process, the print media would expose misdeeds of the government after a few hours.

South Asia Partnership (SAP) Coordinator Mohammed Tehseen termed the move unwise, saying the recent Pemra restrictions were aimed at announcing the desired election results, which could have been contradictory to the reports issued by the independent media.

“The presence of the independent media could jeopardise plans to rig the elections. But the move will not help the government in any case because the international community and the people can smell a rat in these restrictions,” Tehseen added. Citizens Group for Democracy Convenor Salman Abid said the recent instructions to the media would simply discredit the government’s positive move to allow a massive monitoring of polls by foreign observers, giving credence to the stance of those who had already predicted foul play.   —>

Berlin TV
by Redcoat
The Berlin Blog (CT)

[ comments allowed ]

Cruising though the channels this week, I came across the BOE presentation on their high school proposal. Regardless of one’s view on the subject, the BOE’s approach to this process certainly has been a thorough one. It’s hard to imagine a question or issue that they have not anticipated and addressed. See it for yourself. The next airing is February 24th at 5:00 on Public Access. Next Sunday, pop some popcorn, turn on Channel 19, and get informed on this critical issue.

N.C. Franchise Law Driving … Cable Incumbents
AT&T, Other Competitors Have Yet To Apply For Statewide Application
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News

[ comments allowed ]

A bill designed to aid competitive video providers in North Carolina has actually deregulated many incumbent operators, while no new competitors have applied to serve the state, according to data compiled by a municipal consultant.

Not seeking a franchise yet: AT&T, strongest backer of the North Carolina Video Service Competition Act, which took effect Jan. 1, 2007.  Instead, the secretary of state has awarded 111 franchises, including ones to Time Warner Cable, Cebridge Communications and Charter Communications.  Only one small telephone company, which was already providing competitive services, has sought a statewide franchise, according to consultant Action Audits, which compiled the data…

The report said video prices have not decreased, though cable-rate reduction remains a key benefit touted to state legislatures in favor of statewide franchises.  The law instituted a video sales tax to replace locally collected franchise fees. The report asserts that funding, which was projected to be $28,000 per state-franchised community, actually averages $6,000.

Cities that had used some franchise fee cash for public, education and government channels now tend to funnel the money into other city services, said Catharine Rice, an associate with Action Audits.  The report jibes with data collected in Texas, the first state to adopt state franchising; and, more recently, Michigan.   —>

AT&T video debate heats up
Company wants TV franchise that lets it bypass areas
by Naomi Snyder
The Tennessean


A key point in a contentious debate in the General Assembly revolves around who will get AT&T’s new TV service.  It has been rolled out in parts of 12 states, but not yet in Tennessee as a legislative battle over licensing rules plays out in the General Assembly. The cable industry wants to force AT&T to build out to a significant part of the state’s population, following longtime local rules where cable companies typically must serve nearly every home in a county.

AT&T wants legislative permission for a statewide franchise, bypassing local franchise agreements, saying it will increase competition and provide an additional choice that doesn’t now exist.

To fight AT&T’s proposal, the cable industry has been rolling out ads that include idyllic rural settings it says would be bypassed by AT&T’s proposed new fiber-optic TV service.  The cable companies also ran ads for weeks that featured an African-American consumer saying AT&T wants to pick and choose its customers, suggesting the phone company would redline neighborhoods.

The word conjures images of business owners drawing red lines on maps to exclude inner-city neighborhoods from investment.  “There’s no have and have-nots in the cable world,” said Stacey Briggs, the executive director of the cable industry’s Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association. “Fairness is innate in the franchise program we have today.”…

AT&T said it now has more than 230,000 customers and is passing 7.8 million homes in 12 states. By the end of 2010, it plans to have access to 30 million homes.

So far, it’s choosing urban areas and suburbs around metro markets such as Chicago; Austin, Texas; Bloomington, Ind.; and San Francisco. Most of the states are those in which AT&T has already negotiated changes to state laws or favorable interpretations of the rules.

AT&T won’t provide demographic details of its customer base or say exactly what parts of counties or cities it serves. Industry newsletter publisher The Bridge Data Group analyzed neighborhoods where AT&T and Verizon had launched TV service and found that they tended to prefer wealthier than average neighborhoods.  AT&T’s U-verse served neighborhoods with an average household income of $74,000 a year, compared with a national average of $65,000, the group said.   —>

Local TV Series Now in Third Year of Looking Beneath the Surface
Kitsap and Beyond (WA)

[ comments allowed ]

—>   I have long been aware that our area has some of the best cold water diving in the world. I became even more aware of the beauty beneath our waters when I worked on the website and added a page on diving.  The information below is great – a TV show that shows off our spectacular area as only a few ever see it.

Featuring unusual way to raise money for children’s cancer research, “SEA-Inside: Pacific Northwest” kicks off its third year as the only TV series to focus on what’s underwater in the Pacific Northwest. “The beauty of this series,” describes its producer, John F. Williams, “is that it lifts oceanography out of its scientific pigeonhole and carries it into the worlds of art and story-telling.”

In video-magazine format, each episode of “SEA-Inside: Pacific Northwest” features several underwater-themed videos by a variety of producers. This first episode of 2008 offers a whirlwind tour of the prior two seasons as a tribute to the many videographers, photographers, musicians and artists who have contributed content to the show in 2006 and 2007.

That is followed by a mini-documentary about a diveathon, an underwater fundraiser in which relay teams of divers created a presence underwater for 24 continuous hours in Puget Sound near Redondo. “No-one wants to hear that children, in particular, have cancer,” said event co-organizer Valerie Lyttle, who is also an emergency room nurse and an underwater videographer. The amount of money raised by this small group of dedicated divers was astonishing.

“SEA-Inside: Pacific Northwest” is a half-hour TV series produced by Suquamish, Washington resident and underwater videographer John F. Williams. “The point of this TV series is to introduce people in the Pacific Northwest to their underwater neighbors,” said Williams, “it’s the only thing like it in the region. The focus is on the Pacific Northwest, but a few videos from all over the globe are included, since similar issues are present in every ocean.”   —>

Casting call!
by Jason McIntosh
The Gameshelf (MA)


The Gameshelf is looking to expand the pool of people it invites on the show to play games. Prior to this casting effort, this has been limited to game fans whom we already knew. I’d like to cast the net a little wider in an effort to get a broader variety of gamers on the show.

Guest gamers help the show by simply playing games on-camera, usually in SCAT’s Somerville TV studio and occasionally on-location somewhere. We then mix clips of this gameplay footage with the hosts discussing the game. To get an idea how this works, watch any of our recent episodes, or one of our YouTube excerpts, such as Werewolf or Acquire. We sometimes also invite guests to participate in the little skits that punctuate each episode.

Because The Gameshelf is a low-to-no-budget effort, guests are paid only with the glory of appearing on a community access TV show and video podcast, and having their names forever in that episode’s credit roll.

Guest gamers should either live in the Boston area or be able to visit without much hardship. They are punctual, showing up on-time for any shoot they agree to help with, and once arrived they are cool and good-humored under camera. Most importantly, though, Gameshelf guests love games, and want to be part of a group effort to bring the message of joy through game-playing to a global audience.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, election programming, freedom of the press, government access, municipal programming, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, red-lining, redlining, U-Verse, video franchising

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