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PUBLIC ACCESS

Make local viewing easier

Marcia Merrins, chair of the Fredonia Cable Advisory Board, is absolutely correct. In this era of meetings being broadcast on public access — since restrictions are in place due to COVID-19 — the location of the channel needs to be more prominent.

Consider this in Dunkirk-Fredonia: Spectrum Cable viewers can get sports, news and all network programming from Channels 1 to 1299. To find the access channel? Its at 1301. Almost an afterthought.

“What underlines (the issue) even more is that (we’ve been) in an emergency situation and not being able to go past that local station could be detrimental to some people who are in need of phone numbers or community help,” Merrins said in a recent article.

It is, however, a perfect location for local governments who are operating with less transparency — even if the meetings are available on YouTube or the cable. Without the public in attendance, there are less items that will be questioned and, as we saw in Dunkirk in April, some letters submitted by the public may not be read out loud.

Government is facing some tough choices in the new future. Budgets will be disastrous and hard choices may lie ahead.

All Merrins is asking for, especially now, is a more prominent place for access channels. If the Canadian TV stations can be in the top tier, there’s no question there is room for Public Access channels there as well.

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