February 24, 2006
This month, ACMEBoston joined the thousands of community media producers, activists, and concerned citizens across the country who wrote the Federal Communications Commission in support of local video franchising—the process that provides the funding, channels, and facilities for Public, Educational, and Government Access TV. Our action was in direct support of thousands of community access workers and volunteer producers across the country working hard to make local voices on TV a reality.
We launched a local campaign titled “Tell FCC to Protect Local Voices on TV” in response to The FCC’s “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” 05-311 on Video Franchising. Video franchising is currently under attack by the Big Cable and Telephone companies that want to do away with this process. The Communications Giants claim that the local franchising process ‘simply takes too long’ and contend that local franchising authorities should be removed. But, if the Communications Giants get their way, thousands of Public Access Centers—that provide an important outlet for under represented, underserved, and under resourced groups—could lose their funding and be forced to shut their doors.
In response, ACMEBoston members crafted a letter template at our monthly meeting that we used to write our letters to the FCC. After writing and submitting our individual letters (highlighting the local access centers in our communities), we then shared them on the ACMEBoston Blog inspiring others to do the same.
MNN reports that over 3900 letters were submitted to the FCC in response to the NPRM 05-311 on Video Franchising and ACMEBoston is proud to have been apart of this important effort to protect local voices in our media and democracy. But, with pending legislation in Congress challenging Video Franchising, Network Neutrality, and Media Ownership rules (among other key media policy issues) our work has only just begun.