Steven Clift linked me to an article in the Gainesville Sun out of Florida on a community’s failed attempts to get a public access channel on their local TV. The paper reported that Alachua County commissioners in June joined the Gainesville City Commission in declining to create a public station.
What is interesting / dangerous is the reasoning used by the Commissioners to deny the request. According to the article, several commissioners said they believe the growth of the Internet – particularly sites such as YouTube.com that allow people to post homemade movies – eliminates the need for public access television.
Activist groups pushing for greater government support for access to
the public airwaves need to be alarmed by and prepared for arguments
like these. Because as YouTube, vlogging and podcasting become more
and more a part of everyday life, groups arguing that the public need
their own programming on traditional television and radio are going to
have to show why the internet is not the answer. Or at least not the
What is most important is that activist groups that support PEG
(public, education and government) programming on TV and radio
coordinate with groups working on enabling new forms of public media
like Democracy TV and Ourmedia. Otherwise they risk getting pitted against each other or working at cross-purposes.
And that would play into the hands of those who want to see all media dominated by mega-corporations whether it be Time Warner, Clear Channel or Verizon. And we all lose then.