By Rich Bockmann
It was on, then it was off and now it’s back on again.
The borough president debate Queens Public Television taped Oct. 10 between Republican Tony Arcabascio and Democrat Melinda Katz will air this week after the station previously said it would not see the light of day.
QPTV originally said it decided not to air the taping because an invite sent to a third candidate, Everly Brown, was never returned and the station was concerned about providing each candidate with “equal time.”
“One candidate for the office of Queens Borough President, Mr. Everly Brown, was invited to take part in the debate but failed to participate thereby forfeiting his equal access or ‘equal time’ to our channel,” Clifford Jacobs, QPTV’s programming and access services manager, said in a statement. “Once invited, it is incumbent upon the candidate to appear.”
According to the amended Federal Communications Act of 1934, any cable television system that permits a candidate to use its facilities must provide “equal opportunities to all other candidates for that office to use such facilities. Such system shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast by any such candidate.”
QPTV will air the debate 12 times next week between Sunday and Thursday.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.