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Religion and Cable TV: New law needed to open religious TV now excluded by cable


J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Source: Canada Free Press

"Multicast Must-Carry" is the name of the new law proposed. It will open up morally-based TV now ignored by cable.

Cable has not given religious broadcasting the attention it is due. Therefore, legislation is needed to bring this about. Legislators must be contacted in order to see this proposal through.

It is fact that cable purposefully puts aside religious broadcasting in particular. This disturbs moralists who want more family-friendly viewing. All this is true while at the same time cable informs the press that it has made arrangements with PBS and other venues for larger media outlets.

Since this is so, it is significant that cable opens up to morally-grounded programming. The public has made it known that it wants that kind of entertainment and educational networking. Polls have shown that to be reality.

Moralists presently are requested to support a "Multicast Must-Carry" law that will insure religious channels on cable.

"Christians in particular need to be made aware of a new bill that is being proposed that will affect television stations across America," reports Susan Zahn of WDC Media, a Christian PR and media firm.

"There is an urgent need to get language added that will prevent cable and satellite companies from excluding channels because they are religious. This new law will require the government to mandate carriage of all channels broadcast by a television station, including Christian channels." The proposed provision in the new Digital TV bill is tagged "Multicast Must-Carry".

Michelle Bertello, WDC Media News, reports: "The federal government’s mandate for all TV stations to convert from analog to digital technology has opened the door for broadcasters to offer more than one channel to their viewers. In particular, conservative, faith-based and family-friendly broadcasters will offer up to six channels in each city where they operate.

"These channels represent a diversity of programming that is not prevalent on television. This new law will help create new faith-based channels for children, teens, parents and seniors in a variety of program formats."

"It is imperative that cable live up to its diversity message. That means opening up then to religious fare as well as other viewing options," stated Pastor Peter Heilemann of Woodsville, NH. "If this law will see through that end, then let’s put in place the new law."

"Multicast Must-carry" is the only means for ensuring the ability of the Christian broadcasters to get these new channels on digital television.

"Believers strongly hold that without ‘Multicast Must-carry’ the conservative, faith and family broadcasters will not be treated fairly," said Heidi Inlow, high school teacher, Vernon, CT.

"The cable companies do not readily carry the Christian networks, so this ‘Multicast Must-carry’ law will force secular cable and satellite companies to put more faith and family programs out there. While legislators speak of diversity, it seems that diversity is applied unevenly regarding religious networking," observed Gregory Moore, church youth leader, Hiram, ME.

"Religious broadcasters demonstrate a broad variety of religious denominations. As Christians we need to contact key legislators in Congress, requesting that they create a multicast must-carry provision to preserve the voice of religious broadcasters, to ensure that these voices are not diluted, even unable to survive in digital television," Susan Zahn said.

Contact Key Legislators: Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) 202-224-3135-ph 202-228-1264-fax www.frist.senate.gov Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) 202-224-3004-ph 202-224-2354-fax www.stevens.senate.gov Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) 202-225-6536-ph 202-225-5604-fax www.blunt.house.gov Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) 202-225-2002-ph 202-225-3052-fax www.joebarton.house.gov Congressman Chip Pickering (R-MS) 202-225-5031-ph 202-225-5797-fax www.house.gov/pickering

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