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12/18/13 at 08:32 PM 2 Comments

Televangelists Oppose Broadcast Deregulation, Elimination of Must Carry Rule

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Photo: Jordy Ferket - Creative Commons

National Journal asks a provocative question with this headline: "Is Congress Turning Off Your Televangelist?"

Steve Scalise, Republican Congressman from Louisiana, has introduced the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act and if this legislation passes, it would deregulate some aspects of broadcasting. Televangelists fear that ending the "must-carry rule" could lead to religious broadcasters being removed by cable companies.

National Journal reported, "Stephen Bell, Scalise's communications director, said that 'noncommercial' broadcasters would get to keep their must-carry protections, but he would not specify if networks such as CBN, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and Eternal Word Television Network would qualify for that exemption."

As it stands, the legislation lacks broad support from both political parties. Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is the only co-sponsor. The bill has been referred to both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

National Religious Broadcasters lists "Must-Carry" rights as one of its main public policy priorities: "NRB has repeatedly affirmed the vital importance of Must-Carry law for religious TV broadcasters, who provide valuable service to American TV consumers."

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