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Chicago Indymedia

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Defend CAN-TV. Attend March 12 Cable Commission meeting

Chicago's CAN-TV public access channels face serious cutbacks and layoffs if deadbeat cable co. RCN doesn't pay $650,000 it owes. All are asked to attend upcoming Cable Commission meeting.

In her report back from the World Social Forum in Brazil, Emily LaBarbera-Twarog noted that one of the agreed goals of that get-together is to "build media work". Building Independent Media Centers, fighting the Pacifica battles and returning Amy Goodman's Democracy Now to the airwaves, supporting WLUW-FM in the recent fund drive: the anti-globalization movement understands the value of
independent media.

Chicago activists and unions now need to come to the defense of a very important Chicago bulwark against corporate media: The Chicago Access Corporation, otherwise known as CAN-TV. It's our public access channels, which go into over 350,000
cable homes, and give the opportunity for many unheard voices to meet corporate tv head on. The right to public access in television has been hard fought and is a precious tool for defending democracy. A brief, incomplete list of progressive organizations who have used or are using CAN-TV: 8th Center for Justice, Chicago Firefighters Local 2, Chicago Women in the Trades, Labor Beat, Casa Guatemala, Hispanic American Labor Council, Illinois Labor History Society, IUOE Local 399, SEIU Local 7, SEIU Local 73, USWA, AFL-CIO, and the list goes on.

RCN, a cable company obligated by contract to pay the Chicago Access Corp. so that the CAC can maintain the access channels, has for the last two months failed to pay $645,000. Soon, if this money is not forthcoming, the CAC
will face cutbacks and layoffs.

The C.A.C. is asking the Chicago community, the very community which has been given television voice only by the C.A.C., to come to its aid.

I endorse the C.A.C.'s call for supporters to attend the meeting (details below) of the Chicago Cable Commission on March 12. A big turnout is the first step to force RCN to cough up the money it owes CAN-TV, and Chicago workers who use the channel.

-Defend public access tv in Chicago
-Defend C.A.C. employees
-Attend Cable Commission March 12 meeting

In solidarity,
Larry Duncan
Labor Beat co-producer

For more information on this issue:
CAN-TV: 312-738-1400



March 12, Tuesday
City of Chicago Cable Commission
promptly at 11 a.m.
Basement of Harold Washington Library
See directions below:

The meeting is held in the basement of the Harold Washington library in the municipal cable television facility located on the East Side of the basement. You get to the basement by taking the down escalator located in the south hall and then take a right at the bottom of the escalator and go to the end of the hall. The municipal cable offices and studio are to the left at the end of the hall. Ask for the Cable Commission meeting once inside.


Barbara Popovic, Executive Director of Chicago Access Corporation, writes: "RCN, one of the cable companies that funds CAN TV is now two months late in making a payment of $645,000 which they had agreed by contract to make to CAN TV. CAN TV has sent multiple notices asking for payment and has had a number of conversations with company representatives, but RCN is remaining silent as to when CAN TV can expect payment. Cable companies have historically supported CAN TV and no company has ever refused to meet their payment obligations. Given that $645,000 is nearly 1/4th of CAN TV’s annual budget, a default on payment by RCN would have a major impact on CAN TV services, resulting in service and staffing cuts."



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