Frankfort, KY: By a vote of 3-1 the Frankfort Electric and Water Plant Board, which oversees the city owned cable TV system, voted to drop MTV from its system on December 1. The board claims their decision stems from, "a desire to protect children and instill public morality." The board's decision on MTV was made in stark contradiction to a recommendation by the board's cable TV advisory committee, which had suggested moving MTV to a higher channel and making available so-called "traps," which would block the MTV signal if a customer so wished.
Utility board member Frank Sower's response to the decision was, "I just don't think MTV is the type of program we need on our cable system. Sower's daughter-in-law, Phyllis is the spokesperson for about a half-dozen "citizens" who have been speaking out against MTV. "There's a strong connection between sex, violence and pornography and what's happening to young people in our country," she told the press. "It's warping our young people at a very vulnerable time in their lives."
A number of protests against the decision are in the works. At a rally held in Frankfort last Saturday, Everett Hoffman, Kentucky ACLU director called the decision, "part of a larger effort to impose fundamentalist views on society." Hoffman went on to say, "the MTV controversy here in Frankfort is only the tip of the iceberg, and is linked with a national effort to erase barriers between church and state."
The rally was also addressed by former Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith who started the rally by saying the plant board's decision is censorship. Galbraith, a Lexington attorney, said MTV "is a political channel as much as an entertainment channel." Rachelle Williams, a Franklin County High School junior told the crowd that the board has not produced any examples of alleged MTV pornography. "It's an asset to our growth," Williams said. "Musical expression is an important part of any culture. I would hate to see it taken from mine."
The anti-censorship rally was organized by the Creativity Center, a group which promotes the arts in Frankfort. They and other ad hoc groups are organizing future actions against this blatant act of censorship. All ROC readers in Kentucky are encouraged to get in touch, and get involved! It may be your town next. Readers seeking more information or wanting to get involved can contact the Kentucky ACLU at (502) 581-1181.