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IN: Comcast Closing Public Access in Indiana Cities

By saveaccess
Created 10/19/2007 - 6:47pm

from: South Bend Tribune [1]

Comcast Closing Public Access in Indiana Cities

October 18, 2007
By Tom Brown

By December, possibly sooner, public access television will go dark in Michiana. Comcast has quietly begun closing public access studios in Indiana.

The federal Telecommunications Act of 1934 established the principle that broadcast media are owned by the citizens of our country; therefore, public access studios are our studios.

Our public access studio served South Bend, Mishawaka, Granger, Roseland, Osceola, Elkhart, Goshen, Bristol, Middlebury, Wakarusa, Plymouth and Rochester in Indiana and Edwardsburg in Michigan.

Corporations bid on licenses to use our media commercially. To safeguard the public interest, corporations were once required to grant public access to licensed media.

In 1996, neo-liberals convinced Congress commercial markets are better guardians of media democracy than citizens, predictably resulting in greater media concentration and less media democracy.

If commercial media — even public radio and television — support public interest only to the point their own interests are not threatened, where can common citizens make their case for political or social change except uncensored citizen-controlled and citizen-produced media?

From Illinois to Ohio, Michiana now has no independent televised media.

Democracy requires more, not less, citizen-driven public discourse. Call on public officials to restore, then expand, basic media democracy in Michiana.

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