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Programming Policy

Regulations   
  • Channel Administration
  • Programming Statement
  • Program Restrictions
  • Political Broadcasts
  • Equipment and Facilities Usage
  •    
  • Editing
  • Program Priorities and Scheduling

  • Channel Administration

    The Programming Director is responsible for all programming activities and program schedules, which are established based on direction from the Office of the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia’s Office of the Secretary, and in accordance with guidelines recommended by OCT. The costs associated with managing DCC, DCN, and DKN shall be paid for from franchise fees received from cable franchises as provided for in the franchise agreements.

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    Programming Statement

    DCC and DCN provide information to residents of the District of Columbia concerning the functions, activities, programs, and issues of the City. The channels shall not be used as a political forum by any individual group, nor are they to be used as a mechanism for building exclusive support for a particular person, program, or issue. Use of the channels shall be governed by the operating procedures as set forth herein, and by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as they may apply to operations of DCC, DCN, and DKN. The views and opinions expressed on the channel may not necessarily reflect those of the DC Council, the Mayor, OCT, or any employees of the District of Columbia. The Director of Programming reserves the right to review all programs, proposed and/or completed, to determine compliance with technical quality, programming regulations and channel objectives. Any program under consideration by OCT may be accepted as presented, may be rejected completely, or may be given conditional approval. In the case of conditional approval, a program may be deemed appropriate and worthy, except for stated objectionable or offensive program portions, which will be listed as needing revision or deletion from the program. The presenter of the program will then have the option of making all specified changes or withdrawing the program from consideration altogether. Submission guidelines: program must be a complete, packaged entity including titles, lower thirds and mixed audio. Programs must contain objective information on government service, activity, resource, and/or event. No editorials, individual or commercial promotion and/or endorsement permitted. .

    Program Restrictions

    The District of Columbia recognizes the programming content restrictions imposed on DCC and DCN by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), by prevailing community standards, and by applicable Federal state and local laws. In particular, DCC, DCN, and DKN will not cablecast, or allow being telecast, any programming containing the following:

    • information or advertising concerning an illegal lottery;
    • paid advertising material in which commercial appeals for funds are made (Grants and underwriting for programming purposes shall not be considered as advertising. Paid advertising material includes, but is not limited to, advertising by or on behalf of a candidate for public office or program material made available without charge by persons, corporations, or institutions which have a commercial interest in the subject matter. This provision shall not prevent the identification of person or institutions providing grants or contributions to underwrite the cost of programs unrelated to the commercial interests of the donor or to programs, which have a public interest overriding the private, commercial interests.);
    • copyrighted material, unless clearances have been obtained and written proof of such clearance can be presented;
    • any material that constitutes libel, slander, pornography or violation of trademark or copyright;
    • any programming that advocates a particular religious belief or beliefs; and
    • programming which applicable Federal, State or local laws prohibit.
    • OCT does not provide coverage of partisan events, political rallies, or fundraisers.

    In the case of programs deemed to be worthy or of social or artistic value, but also containing some program content or language that may be considered offensive to some viewers, the following message may be run prior to the program, and during any natural program break:

    "The following program has been deemed worthy of cable-cast on DCC or DCN, but contains language or other program content that may be offensive to some viewers. Viewer discretion and parental guidance are advised."

    Political Broadcasts

    Declared candidates for any elective public office and persons advocating any cause, viewpoint or policy, proposed or otherwise, will not be eligible to appear on DCC or DCN. OCT shall not cablecast political programming or campaigning by, or on behalf of any candidate for public office. No political programming will be permitted on OCT’s District of Columbia Network, (DCN), District of Columbia Council Channel, (DCC), or the District Knowledge Network, (DKN), with the exception of providing factual information on any ballot issue directly affecting District of Columbia citizens. Candidates for public office may appear on a bona fide news program; a news documentary, if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to presentation of the subject matter; or in coverage of official City meetings such as City Council, Commissions, or Committees. The Office of Cable Television shall make every effort to ensure that any appearance, except as authorized in Section 1., by any qualified political candidate on DCC and DCN will abide by these restrictions, and will tailor such appearances so as to minimize the fact of their candidacy.

    Equipment and Facilities Usage Procedures

    • OCT production equipment and facilities are to be used strictly and exclusively for productions that 1) clearly are in the interest of the DC Government and its agencies, 2) occur as a result of a request from the Executive Office of the Mayor, 3) occur as a result of a request from Council of the District of Columbia members, or 4) occur as a result of a request from a DC Government Agency Director and with the approval of the OCT Director. 5) All media requests must be submitted by government agencies and/or nonprofit organizations that qualify as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Service Tax Code 501 (c) 3 or have a 501(c) 3 fiscal sponsor.
    • Use of OCT production equipment and facilities for projects that are unaffiliated with the government of the District of Columbia is prohibited.
    • Use of OCT production equipment and facilities shall be restricted to OCT staff, work-study students, volunteers, and interns under the supervision of the Director of Programming and the Executive Director.
    • Loaning, renting, or use of the equipment for personal use is strictly prohibited.
    • OCT may recover costs through interdepartmental billings for salaries, benefits, and overhead used on a production.

    Editing Policies for Programs and Information Messages

    • All public meetings will be covered gavel-to-gavel. No editing of any sort shall be performed. However, alphanumeric or computer graphic information visual aids may be inserted for clarity and for coverage lost due to technical considerations.
    • Any programming prepared by or provided by a government agency may be modified or edited as appropriate to adhere to the policies governing channel use, or as dictated by scheduling and personnel resource requirements.

    Program Priorities and Scheduling

    Scheduling the use of DCC, DCN, and DKN shall be the sole responsibility of the Director of Programming. Scheduling will be in accordance with the mission statement set forth by the Office of Cable Television and the availability of equipment and staff resources.

    Archiving Policy

    • All video records and recordings produced by OCT created within the previous two years of the current year are maintained and made available through the agency website.
    • OCT only maintains final footage and does not typically keep or store ‘raw’ videos.
    • Council hearings are made available through the OCT website and may be accessed back to 2003.