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Meet PACTV, Plymouth's Dedicated First Amendment Forum

By S. Mathur

Operating out of Plymouth, MA, PACTV has spent its first fifteen years living up to its mission: "PACTV, a not-for-profit membership-based organization provides P.E.G. (Public, Educational, and Government) Access services and a public forum for its communities. We provide media training, facility and channel access to promote media literacy so that the communities may exercise their First Amendment Right to free speech."

In practical terms, says Carol McGilvray, Marketing & Membership Webmaster, this means that "PACTV is unlike any other cable television station! The majority of what you can see on the Public Access Channel showcases local residents who create their own television shows. PACTV staff teach video production classes and provide state-of-the-art equipment so that residents can create these shows for the Public Access Channel. From talk shows to cooking shows, anything they can imagine, they can create and express their First Amendment Right to Free Speech."

Viewers in Plymouth and surrounding areas catch can PACTV programming on its two channels: the Public Access Channel, at Comcast 13 & Verizon 43; and the Government Access Channel, at Comcast 15 & Verizon 47. PACTV serves the communities of Duxbury, Kingston, Pembroke and Plymouth, Massachusetts. PACTV's focus is ultra-local and one example is PACTV Community News (PCN). The staff produces the weekly news show with local news stories, including interviews with Town Manager Melissa Arrighi and features on local residents, organizations and businesses. PACTV staff also provides coverage of the 4th of July parade, Plymouth Philharmonic's Patriotic Concert and the America's Hometown Thanksgiving parade.

The Government Access Channel covers more than 100 local meetings each year in Plymouth. This is in keeping with the mission of enabling citizens to participate fully in their local governments. Informational talk shows with local officials provide information about county, state, and national issues and services. Current shows include hosts: Director of the Council on Aging, Conni DiLego; Plymouth County Register of Deeds, John Buckley; State Rep. Mat Muratore, State Rep. Tom Calter, Plymouth County Sheriff, Joseph McDonald and Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz.

The monthly PACTV talk show and service project "Building Community" reports on and supports efforts to create vibrant, healthy communities. PACTV runs video production classes as well, to enable citizens to create their own television shows. PACTV also offers the community, says McGilvray, "Make a Documentary" workshop each summer to kids and teens. The film created in 2014 "Within the Bay- Shark Tagging in Duxbury" won a Telly Award last year."

PACTV is committed to helping non-profits and community service providers through free Public Service Announcement Days and Community Bulletin Board notices. PACTV also participates in fundraising events in the community, says McGilvray: "We provide tours to local groups like Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and just hosted the Rotary Club of Plymouth's 21st annual live television auction. Over the years we have helped the Rotary raise over $1,000,000 for local nonprofits and scholarships for area youth."

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