Bill Threatens Christian Television Stations

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A bill recently re-introduced in Congress may do away with Christian and local TV programming.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La introduced the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act which seeks to get rid of "must-carry" rules honoring free, local television.

 The National Religious Broadcasters organization is urging Congress not to pass the bill.

Dr. Jerry Johnson, president and CEO of NRB, said the bill "would be a significant detriment to Christian TV stations and the viewers who rely on them for spiritual guidance."

The "must-carry" rules require cable companies to pick up many local television broadcast stations, including religious stations. These rules were enacted by Congress in 1992 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1997.

Congress had found that cable systems have an "economic incentive" to "delete, reposition, or not carry local broadcast signals." Without "must-carry" rules, the viability of broadcasters "will be seriously jeopardized."

"These long-standing carriage rules ensure that viewers can access the important and edifying programming their local Christian broadcasters offer free-of-charge," Johnson said.

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