Was Illinois bill SB 678 a good thing or a bad thing? Take your time, dear.

Posted by Mitchell - June 26, 2007 (entry 553)

Last week, the Illinois Senate followed the House to approve (unanimously) the revised version of the state video franchise bill.

To no surprise, the corporate media in Chicago, which gave the issue paltry coverage during the raging fight over the past four months, has now been giving it coverage in recent weeks. Example: The Chicago Tribble put the vote on the front page after the Illinois Senate voted earlier this month. For some reason, this article quoted the Citizens Utility Board, which was completely absent during the past four months on this fight, and which some allege has been too comfortably close with the phone lobby.

To their credit, the Tribble did opine on the matter in advance, publishing critical op-eds in advance, and even chiming in themselves.

Was the bill a good thing? Well, public access providers like CAN TV, along with Illinois-wide municipalities and mayors' groups, had been working furiously to get protections woven into the bill, and to a great extent appeared to succeed. This is a first at the very least -- usually the best option is to kill the bill. Here, folks argue that something good came out of it.

Others in the media activist community point out that we slip further behind in international rankings for digital media infrastructure buildout ("We're 24th! We're 24th!") and this bill -- indeed, the panoply of state video franchises littering the legislative landscape -- aren't bound to help, and in terms of our media infrastructure, we're the punchline to a bad joke.

UPDATE: It's official. On June 30, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich signed the bill into law.

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