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Letter to the Editor: Save Public Access Television

The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of this newspaper. We welcome supporting or opposing views on any published item. Received April 27, 2024.
Connecticut is losing hundreds of millions of dollars from cable and video providers that were paying their 5% gross earnings tax, but now, using a loophole in the old Connecticut law, are sliding under agreed-to obligations, causing major losses to Valley Shore Community Television. Local nonprofit Public, Education, Government access or PEG stations across the state like VSCTV have lost upwards of 60% of their required revenues due to the same loophole. Many will close without help. These same cable companies, using this loophole, made over one billion dollars from all of us last year alone.
VSCTV is not just another channel on the dial; it is the heartbeat of our community, pulsating with the rhythms of local affairs and events. Both on TV and online, its programming serves as a lifeline for residents who, despite earnest intentions, cannot always physically attend town meetings and community gatherings due to family obligations and work commitments.
The proposed neglect of HB 5446 signals not just a disregard for VSCTV, but a broader erosion of democratic values and civic engagement. By depriving us of this crucial platform for information dissemination and public discourse, the powers that be are effectively silencing our voices and stifling our ability to hold them accountable.
As a local resident who has benefitted immensely from VSCTV programming, I implore our elected representatives to reconsider their stance and prioritize the preservation of this invaluable resource. Our community deserves better than to be deprived of its right to transparent governance and active civic participation, especially in the midst of an election year when accountability and transparency should be paramount.
Please go to DigitalEquityCT.com, sign the petition, and hit the button that will email all of your elected officials to support HB 5446.  Tell them your local public access TV station matters to you and to fund it before it is too late. Act now before the legislative session ends on May 8, 2024.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Emily Miner, Public Access Coordinator, Valley Shore Community Television (VSCTV)

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