The operator of Dimension Cable Services in Orange County is seeking a federal court order barring implementation of new must-carry Federal Communications Commission rules set to go into effect June 2.
Community Cablevision Co., in a petition filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, said that sections 4 and 5 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 were a “sweeping infringement of free speech rights.”
They violate First Amendment free speech rights and Fifth Amendment due process and equal protection clauses, claimed the subsidiary of Times Mirror Cable Television of Orange County Inc.
Among other things, the rules require cable operators to carry all full-power local commercial stations at their on-the-air numbers, all non-duplicative non-commercial educational stations, and some low-power stations.
The effect, said the complaint, is to unconstitutionally infringe on editorial discretion and compel cable operators to favor specified broadcasters over other broadcasters.
The rules, Community Cablevision said, are also more restrictive than previous regulations that have been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court in Washington, D.C.
In Dimension’s case, the rules will require the operator to carry four local stations that it does not currently carry, plus boost some part-time airing to full time. Dimension would have to delete the Movie Channel and Continuous Hits I to comply, and cut C-Span, VH-1, the Weather Channel and local cable programming to part-time, the suit said.