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Methodist Church Opposes Cable-Providers’ Efforts to Force PEG Off Channel Menus

Church leaders issue resolution supporting local-access programming

Another mainstream religion has voiced its opposition to efforts by cable providers to force public, education and government channels off their channel menus, according to PEG advocate American Community Television.

The United Methodist Church has issued resolution 8016—“Proper Use of Information Communication Technologies,” which said, “We affirm that the right to communicate and to access information is a basic human right, essential to human dignity and to a just and democratic society.”

“Local access programming is being squeezed out aggressively as cable suppliers push to provide more and more revenue-generating programming,” the resolution said.

The UMC “believes this is a justice issue,” and that “Christians have an obligation to advocate that mass media and communication technologies are operated to serve the public good rather than merely commercial interests,” the document said.

The UMC joins the U.S. Catholic Conference in supporting PEG channels. In 2012, the USCC called for Congress to pass a Community Access Programming bill that would allow PEG channels to use funds required to be used for construction projects [“capital expenditures”] for operating expenses. Those funds could keep PEG channels located in states that have statewide franchising from closing because of a loss of funding by cable providers as part of the statewide franchising deals, according to ACT.

In addition, the USCC said a CAP bill “would safeguard” PEG channels by preventing cable operators from discriminating against PEG channels by making it clear that any entity that provides video services over cables deployed on poles placed throughout a municipality and which need “right of way” approval from a local government has to carry the local community television and do so without charging the PEG channel.

The United Methodist Church and the USCC support PEG because those channels generally broadcast the services and programs of those, and other, religious organizations, according to ACT.

Click here to access the resolution.