Letter: Save BCTV and other public access television – Brattleboro Reformer

Editor of the Reformer,

I concur with Vermont’s Secretary of State Jim Condos (“Public officials must be transparent at all times,” March 11) that good government demands transparency. That is one reason why we must protect public, educational and government access TV.

PEG TV, like Brattleboro Community Television, is an extremely important cornerstone to free speech and democracy. PEG provides a voice to those issues not covered by commercial media. PEG provides training and experience in producing local programs. PEG provides knowledge and participation in local government to those unable to attend public meetings and allows transparency so citizens can monitor local government actions – something vital to the health of local democracy.

Most of the programming is funded through “franchise fees” paid by cable subscribers – a good investment in our fellow citizens. However, the FCC is proposing to redefine what a franchise fee is – and it will radically reduce the level of monetary support available to run PEG access channels across the United States.

Congress should stop the FCC from trying to re-write the 1984 Cable Act to financially starve local communities and our PEG channels in its rule-making (Docket NR 05-311). While Vermont’s federal delegation supports public access television, they need to hear from their constituents. Please sign the petition at https://www.petition2congress.com/ctas/stop-fcc-from-defunding-peg-channels and help save BCTV and other PEG stations.

Martin Cohn

Brattleboro, March 12

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