Last week I was interviewed on Church Street about my views on the recent kerfuffle in Burlington over Burlington Telecom's inclusion of Al Jazeera English in their cable TV line-up. Burlington and Toledo, Ohio are the only two cities in the US that offer AJE on their cable systems. Anyone else in the US must use a dish or the internet to see the channel. My on-camera interview appeared as part of a segment on AJE a few days ago in a show they do called Listening Post. The segment looked at the controversy in Burlington and reactions to it. It's a decent piece, though it doesn't get into the fascinating First Amendment implications of the issue, which I've been meaning to delve into a bit in a longer Candleblog post. Click here to see the AJE piece. In particular, check out the brilliant stuff said by the handsome bearded guy toward the end...
As a preview of the post that's brewing in my fertile little brain, check out this piece by Christopher Mitchell, the Director of Telecommunications as Commons Initiative for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I spoke to Christopher on the phone the other day all about Burlington Telecom, locally-owned networks, community media and free speech. The piece he wrote is about how a cable system (like the one BT has), with no theoretical limit to channel capacity, makes decisions about what channels to carry and what channels to not carry. Christopher rightly argues that the answer is: carry everything.
"Removing any voice from a fiber network is unnecessary. These networks offer ample bandwidth for all voices and no one has to watch something they would prefer to ignore."
Yup. As the handsome guy in the AJE video above says, we're adults. We can make our own choices about what to watch on our TVs.