The following is a statement from APTS Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Lonna Thompson:
“The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is deeply disappointed by DISH Network’s request that the U.S. Supreme Court review the Congressional mandate to carry noncommercial stations in high-definition (HD).
“This past March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld Section 207 of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA), which mandates HD carriage of public television stations on satellite.
“Congress included this provision because DISH Network was blatantly discriminating against local public television stations and refusing to carry them in HD in markets where they were carrying all of the commercial broadcasters.
“Unfortunately, DISH prefers to litigate this law rather than giving their customers what they want and deserve—high-quality public television programming. Congress listened to the American people on this critical issue and acted appropriately.
“Every month, 170 million Americans depend public broadcasting to receive educational, cultural, and news and public affairs programming and services. DISH Network is discriminating against locally owned and operated public television stations and taking away satellite subscribers’ right to these public services.
“The public depends upon DISH complying with the must-carry law as local public television stations do not have legal retransmission negotiation rights. DISH’s profound reluctance to do so contrasts starkly with DIRECTV’s voluntary agreement, now four years old, with APTS and PBS to carry the HD signal of every public television station in markets DIRECTV serves in local HD.
“We look forward to an end to the costly legal battle with DISH so the American people who subscribe to DISH will finally have full access to all public television station HD programs.”
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research and communications activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advanced digital services for the American people. APTS provides consistent leadership and information that helps our members better accomplish their own missions and goals. Through its affiliate APTS Action, APTS promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy, and grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner congressional support. For more information, visit www.apts.org.