A new California law allows Time Warner to close 12 studios that provided community programming in Los Angeles. Critics say a valuable 1st Amendment platform is lost.
By Reed Johnson
January 5, 2009
For decades, public access programming on cable television has provided a virtually free forum for community activists and aspiring entertainers, for preening star wannabes as well as serious-minded political watchdogs.
But in Los Angeles and across California that forum began crumbling last week, a development that advocates say will strip ordinary citizens of a valuable 1st Amendment platform.
A provision of a law passed by the Legislature in 2006, which took effect Thursday, allows cable television providers the option of dropping their long-standing obligation of providing free studios, equipment and training to the public. In return, providers must pay a substantial annual fee and continue to provide a minimal number of public education and government channels. …
It was good while it lasted.