Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

News :: Civil & Human Rights : Media

Social Divides Widen Amid America's DTV Conversion

The White DotOn Friday, June 12, all high-power analog television broadcasting in the United States ends, to be replaced by digital television. The conversion, postponed from an original deadline on February 17, stands to disproportionately affect communities that are poor, elderly, and don't speak English — possibly as many as four percent of Americans (roughly 12 million people) that use analog TV, down from perhaps twenty percent (about 50 million) in recent years.

Despite the ramifications of the DTV conversion along strata of class and language, many "leftists have 'tended to dismiss the DTV issue as a kind of pseudo problem because they tended to be antitelevision to begin with.'" Still, television remains the leading source of news and information among Americans. And in many poorer and rural communities which have been written off by newspapers, and who sit on the "other side" of the digital divide, TV is (or was) all that's left for many Americans — compounded with problems involving emergency access, funding, and technical assistance.

Community activists across America have worked to help to reduce the divide, while highlighting the social and economic factors that have exacerbated the divide. Locally, Chicago Indymedia, Chicago Media Action, and the Benton Foundation have highlighted DTV-related issues, noting that despite progress in recent months, potentially hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans could fall further behind.

Read more: DTV Red Alert | Who's Holding The Remote? | DTV Red Alert Delicious Feed


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