The city of Evanston is trying to steal over $200,000 in dedicated cable franchise fee revenues from the long-established nonprofit Evanston Community Media Center (ECMC). These cuts would substantially shutter ECMC.
Link to an article here by the Evanston Review's Bob Seidenberg.
The City must "cease and desist" its unjust attempt to gut a local public media success story, especially in light of the repeated failures of traditional for-profit funding models for journalism. Community members concerned about free speech, including local media activists and others, are also demanding nondiscriminatory treatment of the access channels and the technological enhancements and upgrades to local public, educational and government community programming services necessary in a functioning, modern democracy. Instead of involving itself in what amounts to an embarrassing attempt at government censorship, we urge the City of Evanston to:
* Use the coming cable franchise renewal process to negotiate for a long-term commitment to provide for the cost of live streaming of all local public channels in Evanston on the Internet.
* Work to expand ECMC's capacity to serve as a non-commercial, multi-platform free speech outlet and citizen journalism training center.
* Pass a resolution against AT&T;'s discriminatory treatment of community channels. This discrimination has been under investigation by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office for over a year. (More to come soon on this investigation.)
*** Watch this space for updates to this developing story.
Attend and make public comment at the next Evanston City Council budget hearing
DATE: Saturday, January 9
TIME: 8:30 AM
PLACE: Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL
For talking points from ECMC and Labor Beat, and the email addresses of the Evanston officials involved, click here.
Conflict of interest disclosure:The author of this blog post was a principal figure involved in the creation of the ECMC and was on its founding board of trustees.
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