AFTV's Executive Director, Scott Mercer, invited to Senator Ed Markey's roundtable discussion

On April 1st, our Executive Director, Scott Mercer was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Massachusetts State Senator, Ed Markey, regarding the future of Public Access Television.

Blasting a proposed rule change as an "existential threat" to community television, Sen. Ed Markey on Monday urged other states to follow Massachusetts' lead in pushing back against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

"We're the revolutionary state and this is where the revolution begins against the Federal Communications Commission," Markey said after holding a discussion in his Boston office with representatives of dozens of cable access channels across the state. "This is where the fight begins, and we're going to spread this across the whole country, because at jeopardy is nothing less than democracy, nothing less than the voices of ordinary citizens in every single city and town in Massachusetts and the whole country, and we are in now for the fight."

The FCC, Markey said, is considering a plan allowing cable operators to assign a value to public, educational and government (PEG) channels, and then subtract that value and the value of other in-kind contributions from the franchise fees they pay cities and towns. The result, Markey says, is that "local governments in Massachusetts and across the country would be forced to decide between supporting local PEG channels and supporting other critical institutions serving the public good like schools and public safety buildings." He said, "That's a Sophie's Choice, and it's just not right."

Watch the press conference below. Video credit to Belmont Media Center.