The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Liz Rose, Communications Director, 202-265-1490 x 32 or

FCC Needs to Change Cable Policy to Protect Consumers


Cablevision and ABC/Disney are locked in a dispute over the rights
of the cable company to carry local programming. The dispute is the
latest of several recent showdowns between cable companies and big
programmers over what is called "retransmission consent," and it could
result in 3.1 million Cablevision subscribers in New York, New Jersey
and parts of Connecticut losing access to ABC's local programming.

Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott said, "The
Federal Communications Commission should monitor this situation closely
and encourage both parties to keep ABC content flowing to consumers
until the dispute is resolved. These kinds of disputes between cable
and broadcasters should not result in consumers losing access to local

"Senator John Kerry and other lawmakers are right to keep the
pressure on the companies -- and on the FCC -- to put consumers first.
If local content disappears from consumers' television screens, then
the market is failing. If negotiations break down to the point of
intractability, the FCC should be able to step in and facilitate fair
arbitration. Transparency in pricing and consumer control over content
choices should be the guiding principles going forward to help resolve
these disputes."

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