How Can They Show THAT on TV?
Community media is an electronic forum for free expression by the residents the center serves. Sometimes viewers say “There ought to be a law about what I saw on the station last night!” There IS a law: the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and its guarantee that “Congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech…” While AFTV is not a government body, and thus not subject to the requirements of the First Amendment, we maintain a public forum for the free expression of ideas — even ideas with which we might not agree — and all residents are free to say or do anything they wish on their own programs, provided that they follow Access Framingham’s Member Policies and Procedures and can assure us that their program does not contain any illegal content. As required by the FCC, we prohibit all of the following types of content in programs:
Commercials or advertising
Libel or slander
Obscenity and pornography
Any violation of copyrights, publicity rights, or invasion of privacy
Any violation of FCC regulations
Any violation of any local, state, or federal law.
In addition, Access Framingham states further requirements in the Member Policies and Procedures, such as prohibiting solicitation of funds and requiring at least 50% locally produced content for a program to be considered locally produced.
If you’d like to know how the FCC defines obscenity, and the very different type of content called “indecency,” you may read their Consumer Fact Sheet. While Access Framingham is not directly regulated by this FCC policy, which is applied to broadcasters like the local network stations, we do follow this policy, especially as concerns the scheduling of so-called “Safe Harbor” programming after 11 PM.
When an Access Framingham member or resident of the Town submits a program for broadcast, that person must complete and sign a Cablecast Agreement form, and in so doing assumes responsibility for the content. When you see something on this channel which does not meet the above requirements, you may file a complaint at firstname.lastname@example.org. When you see material which does meet these requirements, but which upsets you anyway, you have the right to join us at AF-TV and produce your own program or message on the channel, to counteract the message of the programming that upset you. As Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said: “…avert the evil by the process of education… the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
Some content on this page has been adapted from the website of MassAccess, which serves and supports local access cable TV stations (community media centers) across Massachusetts.