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Cable Tv Panel Oks Rules For Public Access Channel

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Operating rules for the public access I channel of the local cable televisión I system were adopted last night by the I city's Cablecasting Commission. But the possibility of revisions was I contemplated in an adopted motion I which called for consideration of that question on the agenda of the commission's regular meeting of March, 1973, if it has not been formally considered prior to that time. At least one revisión will be considered sooner if Commissioner David Sinclair follows through on his propos al to change one subsection. He indicated that such a move would be made at the next meeting, a week and a half away on Nov. 8. It is the sense of the commission that the rules adopted are subject to revisión as experience with their practical application accumulates, Commission Chairman Sidney Winter stated in part of the main motion adopted last night. "The rules hereby adopted shall be put into full effect by Michigan CATV Associates as soon as is practically possible and the company shall inform the Commission of the date as of which the rules are in full effect," another section of the motion stated. The emphasis by Chairman Winter last night was to get some form of rules adopted and then proceed from there. Indicative of this was his comment on subsecüon 5.4, which brought strongest negative comments at a public hearing on Oct. 18. This section, which Sinclair wants to change soon, leaves to the discretion of the cable company which applications could be rejected for the public access channel. Winter said, "The subsection is not highly meaningful. I had hoped for somethmg definite because it is not good as it is now. But it is better than nothmg. So let it ride through." Sinclair said, "I do not have an amendment for subsection 5.4 but I am not eager to have it go through as is." He said there should be some minimum guarantee for the public. "I apologize for not having something ready for this meeting. I will come in on Nov. 8 with a written proposal." Any suggestions for written amendments to the proposed rules submitted at the public hearing on the 18th were su'pposed to have been filed with the mission secretary in City Hall by 5 p.m yesterday. No written amendments were submitted by the Media Access Center. The reason, according to the director, was that MAP suggestions (Media Access Program) had previously been submitted to the commission. The commisson ignored them so there was no point in resubmitting proposals, said Ms. June Guterman. No written amendments were submitted by any other group or individual members of the public. Only about a dozen people were in the audience during the meeting last night. None but Ms. Guterman made any comments during time set aside for public comment. Winter had said the public would not be allowed to make comments on individual items. But Sinclair made a motion to hear the public before voting on the written amendments submitted by commission members. The motion which was supported by Mrs. Alma Smith passed unanimously. One amendment, which was introduced by Winter last night and passed by the commission, was to change the operatmg rules to reduce the scheduled period of a comment" from 15 to five minutes and to provide for the continuation of comments" when time is available A "comment" is the use of the public access channel by a single individual or group for a scheduled period of five minutes and a total period not exceeding 30 minutes, with the channel use inyolving a live cablecast requiring a single camera and a single microphone located in the cable company's studio facilities. "Comments" will be scheduled for five-minute periods beginning on the nour and at five minute intervals thereafter. Immeditely prior to the beginning of a scheduled "comment " the user making that "comment" may request and reserve as many of the consecutive five minute üme periods followïng the scheduled "comment" as at that time remain open on the "comment" schedule; provided that the additional period thus reserved shaU not exceed 25 minutes, it was stated in part of Winter's motion to amend. Ms. Guterman objected to reducing the time available to people from 15 to five minutes. She said more hours should be made available for the 15-minute segments. Winter said the intent of his ment was to make it possible for more people to speak during the "comment" time. The logical thing to do, according to Ms. Guterman, was to provide for expansión to more than one public access channel. The "comment" time will be the only chance for many people in the public to be heard, she said. So there should be one channel solely for public "comments" and another one for public access programming, which requires more complicated planning, Ms Ciuterman stated. "We object to combinïng the two functions on one channel as though neither could M its own channel." Raymond Clevenger, the attorney for the cable company, said that there might not be enough public access interest to fill up one channel. The rules are temporary, he noted. "Obviously if there is a greater demand I expect it would be met by expansión." Ms. Guterman said the Commission should take the responsibility to promote the public access channel and get the P L P 1 e in the community involved. There is no provisión for expansión Why wait until there is no more time." Commissioner James Johnson said the commission was concerned about expansión. Sinclair expressed a desire to insert an expansión clause at a future time. Another amendment concerned the requirement that every application for comment or presentation use of the public access channel must be accompanied by an acknowledgement of responsibüity signed by the person submitting the apphcation. _ An acknowledgement of responsibüity is a statement that the signer agrees to nold the cable company and the city of Ann Arbor harmless and to pay any damages or penalties which the I ny or the city may become legally 1 gated to pay as a result of any action I taken by the signer in connection with I the specific use of the public access I channel, including but not limited to I damages for copyright infringement and I libel. The chairman was authorized to I pare, in consultation with the city I ney and the cable company the form for I this. The form will be Appendix D and I considered part of the rules. The proposed rules include 11 sections I 28 subsections and four appendixes.