(From Hiram Scott of the Boston Neighborhood Producers Group)
SPECIAL BNPG MEETING BEING CALLED
PUBLIC ACCESS TELEVISION
IN DANGER OF BEING LOST
There is a dangerous bill before the U.S. Congress known as the “Communication, Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement” (COPE) Act. This bill threatens public access television (and the internet) as we know them today, if passed, this bill could result in the following:
* National Franchising – This would remove local control of the franchising process from the local (government) level to a national level, resulting in a national franchising system.
* Redlining / discrimination – This bill could allow phone companies to “cherry pick” which neighborhood(s) they want to serve. Additionally, this bill fails to provide sufficient enforcement authority to protect residents from this practice.
* Loss of control over the public rights-of-ways – This would allow phone companies to use the city streets and sidewalks in a neighborhood, without having to provide video service to this community.
* Loss of Network Neutrality – This means that phone companies could potentially block access to certain websites, particularly those sites that are not on its network.
Public access television and the internet are vital links that connects and keeps thousands of local communities in touch with each other. If this bill becomes law the voices of millions of community people could be silenced as multi-billion dollar cable and phone companies continue to seek ways to dominate the airwaves, and control what we see and hear on television and the internet.
We are convening this special meeting for all BNPG members, supporters, friends, cable subscribers, internet users, and the community to come out and learn what is going on and what you can do to stop this legislation from being passed. We will have Colin Rhinesmith from Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) and Jason Pramas at this special meeting to talk to us about this bill and to answer any questions you may have. For more information on this bill visit our website at: http://www.bnpg.org and click on “Public Access” button. The meeting information is as follows:
Date: MONDAY, MAY 15, 2006
Time: 6:00 P.M.
Place: BNN ROXBURY STUDIO, 333 Martin Luther King Blvd.