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City Council wants to censor local TV

Teresa Cochran
Thursday May 23, 2002

To the Editor: 

I have lived in Berkeley for 17 years. I was initially drawn to this city by the cultural richness and diversity to be found here, and have stayed to be a part of it. 

I am mystified and outraged, therefore, by the City Council's recommendation that an ordinance should be considered which would censor our public access station, Berkeley Community Media, Channel 25. 

In the first place, there is no need to censor the self-described "adult programming" on B-TV. 

The FCC has already established a "safe harbor" for this programming, which is 10 p.m. to 6 am. If this ordinance goes into effect, the programs would air after midnight, cutting off many viewers' access. There is no indication that this programming has been designated "obscene" or "patently offensive." 

Secondly, I am sure that Berkeley parents are smart enough to decide what their kids should watch, and need no one to decide this for them. This ordinance would slam the door in parents' faces, not allowing them to choose, or view the programs at all, in many cases. 

Programs such as Frank Moore's "Unlimited Possibilities" and "The Dr. Susan Block Show" are ground-breaking, stimulating shows that encourage community activism and education, and they are also fun! The proposed ordinance would limit the number of people who can watch these programs and others like them. It is not "rescheduling", as some have phrased it. It is censorship, plain and simple. 


- Teresa Cochran