Cable Access Coalition
The goal of the Cable Access Coalition project of Smart Change is to encourage and assist community organizations across Canada to access and utilize their community access cable channels and to provide them with programming from the 2010 Peoples Summit.
Why Community Cable?
Television is a powerful medium and despite the internet, remains a key source of information to the general public and a powerful tool in our democratic process. Public access community cable stations were created and mandated to provide access to equipment and a broadcast outlet for programming produced by citizens and community groups.
People watch community cable to see what is happening within their communities and many people stop to watch programming while channel surfing. These stations provide an avenue to reach an audience with content and perspectives, which are either not covered, under represented or misrepresented in mainstream media. We pay a levy through our cable bills that covers the cost of these stations but in the last 13 years the cable companies have effectively shut the public out, used their own staff to produce programming and commercialized the stations for their own self-promotion and profit. We have a right to access community cable, all we need to do is exercise that right.
Independent Community Cable (ICTV)
ICTV groups in Vancouver and Victoria have asserted their right to access the community access cable stations in those cities. According to the people involved in forming these groups, Sid Tan (Vancouver) and Jack Etkin (Victoria), it is easy to gain access to the public access channels. What you need is a community organization and programming that you want to have played. Once you get a group started you can make further request for training, access to equipment and air time for programs that you can create yourself. To begin with you can just ask that the stations play programming that you feel is relevant to your local community.
How you can get involved.
Smart Change was at the Peoples Summit and the G20 summit in Toronto. We documented the Shout Out for Global Justice on June 25th, in partnership with the Council of Canadians and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union and edited a ninety-eight minute broadcast version of this live event. We are also putting together a compilation of short videos produced by a number of journalists and filmmakers and packaging it as a second fifty five minute program. If you want to receive copies of this programming that you can take to your local community access cable station for public broadcast then join Smart Change, create a group in this project for your local community and invite others in your community to join(the 'Create a Local Group' button is at the bottom of this web page). We will provide you with a how-to guide, the Peoples Summit programming as well as contacts for people who can help you if your cable provider refuses to honour your request for access.
Your local cable provider may refuse to play the Peoples Summit programming because it was not produced in your community. You can tell them, that it is common practice now, that the cable companies produce many of their programs in larger centers and then play them on community access cable stations hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away. You can also tell them that the decisions made at international summits like the G8 and G20 have a huge impact on local communities and that it is important for your local community to have access to information and a variety of viewpoints about these summits.
The cable companies have to comply with your request for access to the 'public access' community channel in accordance with CRTC policy 2002-61. Which states (amoung other things) that the community channels should:
* Engender a high level of citizen participation and community involvement in community programming,
* Actively promote citizen access to the community channel and provide and promote the availability of related training programs,
* Seek out innovative ideas and alternative views,
* Provide a reasonable, balanced opportunity for the expression of differing views on matters of public concern.
If you want more information about the history of community access television in Canada and the fight to regain public access visit the websites of the following organizations and join them as well.
The public owns the airwaves and the right of ways that cable providers use to deliver their signals. Cable subscribers pay a 2% levy on thier cable bills that pays for the 'community access' cable stations (this adds up to between $113 - $130 million across Canada). Access to television is vital in a vibrant democracy. Your participation in this project is an important step in renewing the democratic process in Canada, working towards a more inclusive vision of community and the media landscape.
Thank you for taking part.
Make a donation to the Cable Access Coalition and we'll send you the broadcast version DVD of the Shout Out for Global Justice that you can ask your local "community access" cable station to broadcast.
If you would like to order a copy of the Shout Out for Global Justice that you can watch at home, you can order the DVD using a credit card and paypal with the button below or by sending a cheque or money order to Paul Manly at Box 1093 Stn A Nanaimo BC V9R 2B2
|Blog entry||Shout Out for Global Justice||Oct 8||2 years 31 weeks||Paul Manly|
|Task||Create your local independent Community TV group||Jun 14||2 years 38 weeks||Paul Manly|
|Group Wiki||What needs to be done.||May 31||2 years 50 weeks||Dan Grice|
|Task||Organize Video||May 31||2 years 50 weeks||Dan Grice|