We previously had announced a CMA action for March 14 to oppose legislation introduced in the Illinois legislature.
Upon consultation with CAN TV and the Keep Us Connected Coalition, and at their request, CMA is cancelling its previously scheduled March 14 event for strategic reasons.
In lieu of this protest, CMA encourages the following:
(1) If you live in Illinois, contact your legislators and ask them to oppose House Bill 1500.
(2) If you belong to an organization or group that supports public access television in Illinois, kindly ask that organization or group to join the Keep Us Connected coalition, online at:
(3) Spread the word about this issue and the Keep Us Connected coalition to as many groups and individuals as you can."
Join a Chicago Media Action Protest -- "I Want My CAN TV"
At the intersection of Congress and Federal, Downtown Chicago, March 14, 5pm - 7pm
Major telephone companies like AT&T are right now trying to set up their own version of cable television, and they're trying to set laws favorable to reducing costs for public service obligations that cable companies have historically provided -- like community media centers, public access TV channels, and building technical infrastructure to poor communities.
Citizens and activists blocked these phone companies from trying to rewrite federal laws in 2006 to achieve those harms to the public, but phone companies have responded by moving to state legislatures to win "reforms" at the state level.
One such "reform" is the state video franchise, which would remove control and funding for local TV franchises from local governments and place control in state authorities, making it easier for draining locally responsive funding. Worse, if a state video franchise were to win approval, it would impact existing public service obligations for cable television, since cable companies could follow the example set by their telephone counterparts.
Phone companies have had recent success in pushing for state franchises, winning such laws in at least fourteen states -- including California, Texas, Indiana, and Michigan. And they're trying to do the same thing in Illinois, with the Illinois General Assembly convening in 2007, and the Illinois Telecommunications Act (the main state law concerning media and the internet) scheduled for a rewrite.
But popular coalition forces are realigning for a local fight against such changes. One such coalition is called Keep Us Connected, which is growing at a huge rate. Within 24 hours of the coalition's public announcement, the coalition grew from 10 groups to more than 50 organizations, with more joining everyday.
And Chicago Media Action is calling for actions around the state of Illinois and nationally to raise awareness of what's at stake.
keeping with that, CMA will stage a protest and outreach effort of its own:
You can join the Keep Us Connected coalition here:
The Event -- "I Want My CAN TV"
The Place -- Outside the AT&T building, at the intersection of Congress Parkway and South Federal Street in downtown Chicago (just a block south of the Library / State and Van Buren CTA station, immediately west of the Harold Washington Library Center)
The Date and Time -- Wednesday, March 14, 5pm - 7pm
We encourage you to take part.
You can address questions about the event to Chicago Media Action (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; call toll free: 1-866-260-7198). Again, we encourage you to attend and spread the word about this event and these issues, and contact your elected officials in the Illinois General Assembly to ask for maintaining and strengthening public service obligations for local cable television.
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