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Government Access Channel, Guidelines for

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Policy Statement 123

Guidelines for Government Access Channel 

Prepared by: Susan Moran, Public Information Officer
Supersedes: 4/29/2010
Adopted by Council: 10/30/14
Effective: 10/30/14 

I.    POLICY STATEMENT:

Town government programming shall be the sole responsibility of the Town of Cary at the direction of the Town Council and by recommendation of the the Information Services Advisory Board.  The Town Council shall set the policies for government access use. 

The programming policy shall be to provide town residents with direct, non-editorial information concerning government deliberations, services, programs and activities, and also to provide educational and public information materials sponsored by the Town of Cary.  This cable channel is not intended as a political forum or as a mechanism for building support for a particular policy, program or issue not supported by a majority of Town Council. 

II.   OBJECTIVES: 

1.   To provide comprehensive information about programs and services offered to Cary residents by Town departments. 

2.   To provide information pertinent to Cary residents from other local, state, and federal governmental entities.

3.   To widen the dissemination of information on the activities of the legislative and advisory bodies of the Town of Cary. 

4.   To expand community awareness of local government and its decision-making processes.

5.   To provide educational and public informational materials to town residents through cable cast presentations. 

6.   To provide technical assistance to Town departments in the exercise of their functions and to assist in the training of Town employees.

7.   To improve emergency communications in the event of disaster or widespread service disruption. 

III.  CHANNEL DESIGNATION: 

The Government Access Channel shall operate on cable channel 11 of Time Warner Cable’s Cary system and channel 99 of AT&T’s Uverse service. It shall be known as “Cary TV 11.” 

IV.  TYPES OF PROGRAMS:  

A.   Live cablecast – Live coverage of selected meetings and events will be provided.  This will consist of Town Council and advisory board meetings, live call-in shows and other special programmed events. 

B.   Delayed cablecast –Recorded meetings, shows and events recorded in advance for cablecast at a later time.  Note:  Some events will be cable cast live and will also be recorded for later playback. 

C.   Staff-originated programming – Programs produced by the Town Manager’s Office to include programs for Town departments, issues related to Town government or about groups/committees/boards, etc., that are affiliated with Town government or which use public dollars.  These programs could be either live or delayed cablecasts. 

D.   Outside-originated programming - Material that is related to municipal, county, state, or federal government that is produced by an outside source that can be purchased, rented or borrowed for cablecast. Also, programs disseminated through satellite down-link that are related to local, state, or federal issues may be cablecast. 

E.   Bulletin-board information – Character generated messages related to Town activities, programs, services and events sponsored in whole or in part by the Town of Cary or other governmental unit affecting Cary citizens.  This service will operate 24 hours a day when other programming is not scheduled. 

V.   ACCESS POLICY: 

All programming cablecast over Cary TV 11 must be government-related. Programs may include meetings, activities, programs, services and events of Town departments and services, or other government entities. 

Final approval of all requests will be made by the Deputy Town Manager who administers the video program for the Town of Cary. 

A weekly program log will be kept to record all programming cablecast during that week. 

The Government Access Channel is not to be utilized for announcements from the general public.  Access to the channel shall be limited to Town, government, or quasi-government functions and operations. Utilization of the channel for personal gain will not be permitted. 

VI.  ACCESS PRIORITIES:

Following is a list of general priorities that will apply to the Government Access Channel. The priorities may be altered on a case-by-case basis by the Town Manager’s Office. 

A.   Programming of an emergency nature involving public safety or health matters.

B.   Programming of or about meetings of policy-making bodies such as the Town Council, etc.

C.   Programming of various departments and their services. 

D.   Programming of county, state, federal government and/or Town boards, commissions and authorities and/or agencies that use public dollars. 

E.   Programming produced by outside sources that are relevant to local government.  

VII. MANAGEMENT OF THE TOWN OF CARY GOVERNMENT ACCESS CHANNEL: 

Management and programming of cable channel 11 is provided by the Town of Cary administered by the Deputy Town Manager. Decisions regarding programs or schedules may be appealed to the Town Manager. 

VIII.      POLITICAL PROGRAMMING: 

No political programming will be permitted on the Government Access Channel with the exception of providing factual information on any ballot issue directly affecting Cary voters. 

Political programming related to candidate forums or public forums on ballot issues may be cablecast with a majority vote of the Town Council and only as follows: 

1.   The forum must address ballot issue directly affecting Cary voters; and, 

2.   All candidates for a particular office or sides of a particular issue must have an equal opportunity to participate in the forum; and,

3.   The forum must be conducted in a dignified, respectful, and business-like manner; and,

4.   No forum sponsor or its agents or affiliates—including but not limited to political action committees—may publicly endorse or have a stated position on any candidate or slate of candidates during the election season, which for purposes of this Section is deemed to run from the opening of candidate filing for an election to the closing of the polls on election day.  This section does not prohibit issue advocacy groups from being considered as forum sponsors. 

Cary Council members who become candidates for re-election or election to other offices may not appear on the Government Access Channel outside of official Town meeting programming in the 90-days before the general election for the office they are seeking. 

Direct access to the Government Access Channel for political programming by individual candidates, or supporters of any candidate or issue, except as provided in the preceding paragraphs, will not be provided. 

The Town reserves the right to reject, suspend, discontinue, or change the playback schedule of any political program at any time without notice to the program’s sponsor. 

IX.  EDITING POLICY: 

A.   Town meetings – Any Town meeting cablecast shall not be edited nor subjected to editorial comment. Meetings coverage shall be from gavel to gavel.  Meetings may be recorded in their entirety for later re-cablecast. 

B.   Department Programs – Any program recorded by the Town of Cary or on Town of Cary equipment may be modified or edited as appropriate except as discussed in Section A above.  Editing will be based upon an approved script dictated by scheduling and staffing requirements.

 C.   Bulletin Board – Messages programmed into the bulletin board portion of channel 11 may be submitted by appropriate user departments, agencies, etc.  Editing by the Town Manager’s staff to provide clarity and maximum utilization of pages available may be required. 

D.   The Town of Cary shall not be held responsible for the accuracy of any information cablecast over the channel that was submitted by outside sources. 

X.   ENDORSEMENT: 

At no time will cable channel 11 be utilized to endorse, market, or advertise an issue, candidate, specific person, company or brand name of a product for consumer use. 

XI.  PROMOTIONS: 

Promotional announcements for Town-sponsored events, programs, and activities will be permitted over channel 11. Promotional announcements for events, charities or outside organizations in which the Town has no official interest or sponsorship shall not be permitted. 

XII. USE OF TOWN-OWNED EQUIPMENT:  

Town-owned video equipment shall be restricted to authorized Town activities, and its use shall be restricted to employees of the Town of Cary or trained personnel under the direction of the Town Manager’s Office. Loaning of equipment for personal or outside use shall not be permitted.  

Utilization of Town-owned media production facilities shall be limited to Town of Cary personnel or others trained and under direction of the Town Manager’s Office qualified personnel. 

XIII.      RETENTION AND OWNERSHIP OF TAPES: 

All recordings shall be the property of the Town of Cary. 

One digital copy of all staff produced programs, meetings and events will be kept by the Town for two years. 

It shall be a general policy not to retain original recordings of staff produced programs, meetings and events. At any time, original media may be reused and the original material erased, at the discretion of the Town Manager’s Office. 

Recordings shall not be considered an official record of any meeting, and there shall be no liability for inadvertent erasure or omissions.