Pingree statement on FCC vote on multi-cast, must-carry

Statement of Common Cause President Chellie Pingree

Concerning Feb. 10 Federal Communications Commission Vote on Multi-Cast Must-Carry

Broadcasters argue that they deserve to have all their new digital programming carried by cable because they serve the public interest and are therefore “special.” Unfortunately, broadcasters by and large have a dismal record on serving the public interest, and have failed to endorse First Amendment-friendly content-neutral public interest guidelines proposed by the public interest groups in the Public Interest Public Airwaves (PIPA) coalition.

Broadcasters have done nothing to show that they are entitled to multi-cast must-carry, which would constitute a huge gift from the federal government. Indeed, broadcasters are challenging children’s programming rules for digital TV that the FCC approved a few months ago.

We applaud FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps for repeatedly speaking in support of broadcaster’s responsibility to serve the public in meaningful ways through coverage of local issues and state, congressional and local elections. We are confident that their votes on Thursday will reinforce these sentiments.

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