Thursday, March 16, 2006

source: MNN

SAVE ACCESS TV! CAMPAIGN UPDATE

In recent days there have been a number of important developments in our campaign to SAVE ACCESS TV

1) ACTION ALERT! - NYC City Council proposes Resolution in support of local franchising.Here there is good news to report and you can take action! On March 1st, New York City council members Gail Brewer, Melinda Katz, Helen Foster, Letitia James and Miguel Martinez proposed City Council Resolution No. 0136-2006 opposing any legislation that would dismantle the local franchises that pay for Public Access TV. If you, or an organization you are involved in, have connections with members of the city council then now is the time to let them know they should VOTE IN SUPPORT of Resolution No. 0136-2006. For sample letters or other information about how to contact your city council members, contact SAVE ACCESS TV at the information provided at the bottom of this email.

2) Congress pushes for new bill to dismantle local franchises that make Community Access TV possible.Early in March, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton and leading members of the Committee announced they are close to releasing new telecommunications legislation that would replace local franchises with a national franchise. Day-to-day it is hard to tell how this legislation will fare. Some insiders think this legislation will be voted on before the summer, others think it will take longer. We need to stay active and keep getting our message of support for Public Access TV to our politicians and the public!

In addition to jeopardizing Public Access TV, this legislation would take millions of dollars of franchise fees from local communities; fees video-service companies pay in exchange for running their cables on publicly owned streets. In early February the NYC Independent Budget Office (IBO) issued a report indicating that NYC receives over $75 million annually in telecommunication franchise-fees. All of this money could be jeopardized by this national legislation.

Click here to read the IBO report: http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/newsfax/insidethebudget146.pdf

3) Other Recent Developments:
March 10th: MNN released the first version of a Save Access TV Toolkit. The 14 page Toolkit offers an introduction to how you can start to organize in support of Community Access TV. Download the toolkit at: http://www.mnn.org/saveaccess

February 28th: S.O.S. (Save Our Shows), a coalition of independent producers organizing to protect Public Access, hosted a live call-in program to alert viewers about the current anti-Public Access TV legislation. Future shows to follow.

February 14th: New Yorkers sent a clear message to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – “don’t take away our Public Access TV!” Over 4,000 comments were submitted to the FCC from around the country, many of them expressing concern that changes in franchising rules could harm Public Access TV. Thanks to all of you who took the time to submit your compelling personal comments.

February 11th: Representatives of MNN’s SAVE ACCESS TV! Campaign presented a workshop at the 3rd New York City Grassroots Media Conference. Over 800 grassroots media activists, social justice organizers, and community access supporters attended the conference. Many of them sent their comments to the FCC using laptop computers supplied by SAVE ACCESS TV.

View all the comments filed with the FCC at:
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/websql/prod/ecfs/comsrch_v2.hts?ws_mode=retrieve_list&id_proceeding=05-311

Get involved!
To get involved with the SAVE ACCESS TV! Campaign, call (212) 757-2670 x308 or email us at: saveaccess@mnn.org. For more information about all aspects of SAVE ACCESS TV contact: Betty Yu (betty@mnn.org) or Lyell Davies (lyell@mnn.org) or go to our website at: http://www.mnn.org/saveaccess

Or watch our “Access Update” program on the first Tuesday of every month (6:30-7:00pm on Channel 34 (TWC)/ Channel 110 (RCN). New airdates: April 4th, May 2nd, and June 6th). This program is also available on other local access stations across the country & on Free Speech TV (available on Dish Network), reaching over 25 million homes across the country.
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