Q: What is Public Access Television?
Public access television is a form of mass media where ordinary people can create content which is broadcast or cablecast through cable systems. It is a rare First Amendment public forum, where, in theory, no entity can exercise editorial control. Public Access TV was created in the United States between 1969 and 1971 by the Federal Communications Commission, under Chairman Dean Burch, based on pioneering work and advocacy of George Stoney, Sidney Dean (City Club of NY), and Red Burns (Alternate Media Center).
Public Access Television is often grouped with locally originated Education and Government channels, by the acronym PEG (Public, Education, and Government). PEG channels are typically only available on cable television systems.
VIDEO: Speaking Freely – answers to questions about public access TV programs
ACLU attorney, Adam Schwartz discusses the unique nature of public access cable television’s public forum. This program was produced by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).