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July 23, 2008

Al Jazeera English and Burlington Telecom Ink Deal

This just out of Burlington City Hall: The City of Burlington’s municipal telecom company, Burlington Telecom (BT), has reached a contractual agreement to continue carrying the Al Jazeera English (AJE) channel.

AJE is an English-language international news channel based in Doha, Qatar.  It has been carried on Burlington Telecom since January of 2007, and is currently offered as a channel in its second-level tier of channels.  It is not available in BT’s basic tier of channels. Whether Burlington Telecom should continue to carry AJE was a recent subject of consideration by the Burlington Telecom Advisory Committee and Cable Advisory Committee.  On June 24, 2008, both committees jointly and unanimously recommended that Burlington Telecom keep the channel.  This recommendation was advisory and was forwarded to Burlington Telecom, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss, and the Burlington City Council.  Burlington Telecom negotiates all channel contracts on behalf of the City and authority to execute such contracts rests with the City’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Consistent with the practice regarding all BT carriage agreements, terms of the contract with AJE were not disclosed.  The contract with AJE was signed by CAO Leopold today.

What effect today's announcement will have on the recent effort to bring the issue to voters is unclear. A recently formed group called the Defenders Council of Vermont is collecting signatures to put the matter to a public vote in the November general election.

I doubt "Defenders Council of Vermont" will get enough signatures for their idiotic cause. This is America. People can make their own choices about what to watch and not to watch.

Ken, this is great news, I imagine, but I note from your post: "Consistent with the practice regarding all BT carriage agreements, terms of the contract with AJE were not disclosed." I wonder how long the contract is because Kurt Wright was pulling for a short one.

From the Free Press of 07/03/08
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080703/NEWS02/807030306

Wright said that because contract talks between Burlington Telecom and Al-Jazeera English are "on the fast track," he will urge today that the city pursue only a short-term contract that would expire shortly after the results of a November referendum become available. Thereafter, he said, the city "could make a decision about whether to let the contract expire or sign onto a new one."
Any guesses?

Oops, that BFP link didn't show up completely, but I'm sure you can search google news for Kurt Wright Burlington Telecom contract

Glad they signed the contract. Thanks to Jay Vos for being willing to add his info to the mix. Bad that it seems that Mr. Wright and the rest of the censorship cronies are going to continue this farce. It seems that the usual "American loyalty= Pandering to special interest groups,as long as the purport to be right-wing in character" scheme is ongoing. Nevermind that Wright and the rest of them would lead you to believe the usual trip about how we need "less gov't in our lives" and all the other dusty old tropes- we the citizens can't decide for ourseves, via a channel changer and a diverse programming selection, what we feel is OK to watch, read, etc., because (naturally) THEY don't care for the message. Never mind that they could lead a cause for all views, including whatever anti- AJE, Military or right-wing news agencies out on the airwaves being added to the BT line-up; no, it's far better for Wright, etc. to just deny me and all of us access to one side. So let's protest and raise a ruckus about FOXNEWS. I want everything i don't like removed from BT. and COMCAST and frankly- i kind of wish that all of the anti-AJE folks would move out of town or shut the heck up. Oh what's that Mr. Wright? You and those who you are in agreement with are entitled to watch what you want to watch? Read, say what you like? Oh ...hm. yeh. maybe that's reasonable. Hey Kurt? Maybe there should be an ethical and maybe even constitutional agreement- at very least a social contract that says we are entitled to pursue and view, say and read what we see as valid opinion, information... speech. maybe you and I am entitled to see read, say what we will- and therefore pluralistic balance of viewpoints should be the way we handle these issues, not censoring the information. Oh but unless it's something you or the special interest groups deem incorrect. Better to waste ballot space on a non-issue so that your constituency can think you're some crusader for the right-wing, than actually use your time on important issues. Yeh. well -I guess not Kurt... you have time on your hands to waste. When will SEVENDAYS or Channel 16 be on the chopping block? when will Peace and Justice Center be protested into having to defend themselves? Sad times, Mr. Wright. Well spent energies. Slow clap.

Posting my comment in haste, I now see a few spelling errors and some shaky grammar in my post; I am ashamed. Sorry about that to my fellow pinko-commie l-word AJE supporters. Not sorry for the essential opinion in my comment.

Sorry about that to my fellow pinko-commie l-word AJE supporters.

I am not, contrary to popular belief, a lesbian.

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