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Utah's Catholic leader urges Senate to back community cable TV

Published December 13, 2013 2:29 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's Catholic bishop is pushing for continued governmental support of public-access cable TV — the channels that offer local religious and other community programming

These channels "increase the diversity of voices on our airwaves, promote broader civic engagement in local governmental process and provide an avenue for noncommercial religious programming," the Rev. John C. Wester, on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote in a letter this week to the U.S. Senate, which is considering the Community Access Preservation Act.

"In a time when religious programming faces increasing challenges to its voice being given an equal platform," Wester wrote, " [such cable] channels offer a venue for these programs to be accessed."

These channels are particularly important to "the elderly, disabled or homebound who long to remain connected to their religious communities but are unable to take part in their religious or community activities," wrote Wester, leader of Utah's 300,000 Catholics. "In many states, [these] channels are disappearing as a result of the passage of new state cable laws which failed to include [their] funding by cable operators."

Wester urged the Senate to support these local channels and the programming they carry.

The Salt Lake City-based prelate ended by praising the senators "for the extraordinary public service work you do for our nation."

Peggy Fletcher Stack