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BTAC to BT: Keep Al Jazeera


Published June 25, 2008 at 5:25 p.m.

I haven't seen it in the news today, but, last night, the Burlington Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the Cable Advisory Council reached a joint decision on whether Burlington Telecom should pull Al Jazeera English from its program schedule, as the city-owned cable system threatened to do.

The verdict: Hell no, AJE must not go!

The committees passed a joint resolution, distributed to various media this morning by BTAC chair Greg Epler-Wood, recommending that BT "maintain its carriage" of AJE, which should please the many citizens who pleaded on behalf of the network at recent public hearings.

The three-page resolution was interesting for a couple of additional reasons. For one, the resolution notes that, despite assertions by BT general manager Chris Burns that AJE was the subject of numerous complaints, the committee never saw any "consistent or widespread agreement or evidence from respected sources to substantiate" those claims.

The resolution also said that the committees were unable to consider the contractual circumstances — also cited by Burns in defending his decision to pull AJE — because BT never provided the requested information to the committees.

The fallout from the battle over Al Jazeera bears watching. The decision comes at a time when BTAC, which sought to distance itself from Burns' decision from the very beginning, and BT aren't seeing eye-to-eye on the committee's advisory role.

For a rundown of all AJE-related the coverage, go here.