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Weekly News From the President: ACM Files an Amicus Brief with the US Supreme Court

The Alliance for Community Media filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court last week affirming the constitutionality of thousands of PEG Access cable channels that serve communities across the United States. The filing rejects arguments brought forward by cable lobbyists NCTA, in a case that revolves around the rights of public access television producers and private non-profit public access channel operations.

NCTA is attempting to hijack the dispute between Manhattan Neighborhood Network and public access producers Dee Dee Halleck and Jesus Papoleto Menendez to push an agenda that would silence the voices of thousands of communities across the United States. We think the Court should reject their attempt to inject their self-interested concerns into the proceeding.

While the Supreme Court case Manhattan Cable Access Corporation vs Halleck revolves around the question of whether a private operator of a public access channel should be considered a state actor for the purpose of running a public form for free speech, the cable lobbying group NCTA had attempted in an earlier amicus brief to claim that ALL access channels authorized in the 1984 Cable Act were unconstitutional. ACM and its allies refute their claims as wrong on both the facts and legal precedent.

ACM was joined by the Alliance for Communications Democracy and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) in filing the brief. You can see written briefs on the case online.

The case will be heard in an oral argument before the Court on February 25.

Mike Wassenaar
President & CEO
The Alliance for Community Media