SFGovTV Programming Policies

August 17, 2022

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I. Introduction

The Government Channel, SFGovTV is a cable channel granted to the City and County of San Francisco for the purpose of cablecasting government television programming, including but not limited to, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Board of Supervisors meetings, the Mayor's Press Conferences, and Commission meetings. SFGovTV is managed and operated by the Department of Technology (DT).

Programs containing copyrighted materials will be used only if copyright clearance has been obtained. The ownership and copyright for any program produced by the City and County of San Francisco shall be held by the City.

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II. Objectives

SFGovTV exists to provide citizens of San Francisco with local government information and to assist the City Departments with video production services. Specific objectives include:

  1. Providing information about programs and services offered by City departments, agencies, boards, commissions and government-supported agencies.
  2. Expanding citizen's awareness of government and its decision-making processes by exposing them to live and tape delayed government meetings and civic events.
  3. Enhancing existing public information materials by using cable television as a public information tool.
  4. Providing and distributing programming of interest to the residents that will inform, educate and enlighten, as well as encourage participation in government services, activities and decision making.
  5. Increasing the cost efficiency of service delivery by City and County departments and agencies.
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III. Programming priorities

  1. In the event of an emergency, SFGovTV will be available as needed, and emergency information shall have priority over all other programming. SFGovTV will work with the Director of Emergency Services to coordinate the use and programming of the channel during emergencies.
  2. Coverage of public meetings including the Board of Supervisors, Mayor's Press and City and County of San Francisco boards and commissions.
  3. Meetings and programs sponsored by regional, state and federal agencies dealing with topics pertaining to the City and County of San Francisco and of general interest.
  4. The dissemination of information generated by the programs, services and functions of City departments and other governmental agencies.
  5. Coverage of programs, forums and conferences on issues directly affecting the citizens of San Francisco.
  6. Reoccurring programs and information series or one-time special or non-regular informational programs.
  7. Public Service announcements for city services and programs
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IV. Channel policies

SFGovTV shall be guided by the following policies:

Declared candidates for any elective office and persons advocating any cause, viewpoint, or proposed policy of a partisan nature will not be eligible to appear on the channel 130 days prior to an election or unless they appear in a forum in which all candidates or sides of an issues are given equal time.

For purposes of policy, a person is considered to be a candidate from the time of announcing publicly for any public office (according to CCSF candidate filing rules) until the election has been held.

This policy does not apply to persons who receive incidental air time as part of a public meeting being cablecast on the channel, nor to officials acting as part of their regular duties when such actions do not involve partisan policies.

  1. NON-EDITORIAL: The channel shall provide direct, non-editorial information concerning the operations, services and deliberations of government to the citizens of San Francisco.
  2. NON-POLITICAL: The channel is not intended as a mechanism for building support for a particular ballot issue or candidate for public office. This provision does not preclude the cablecasting of non-partisan programs sponsored by a neutral third party designed to inform the citizens of election issues and candidates.
  3. NEUTRALITY: In any programming concerning subjects that may be interpreted to be materially controversial, the channel will maintain a position of neutrality, providing unbiased information. Requests for presentation of an opposing viewpoint during a legislative meeting will be directed to the appropriate agency for action on their agenda.
  4. NON-COMMERCIAL: The channel will not cablecast paid advertising or any program that depicts a product, business and/or service that has the purpose of benefiting a profit-making enterprise.
  5. NON-DISCRIMINATORY: The channel shall not discriminate in the delivery of its services on the basis of race, color, creed, national origination, sex, sexual orientation or physical ability.
  6. NON-SECTARIAN PROGRAMMING: The channel will not cablecast any programming that exposes or promotes any particular religious group or belief.
  7. LIVE COVERAGE: The channel will give priority to live coverage of meetings.
  8. ACQUIRED OR PRE-PRODUCED PROGRAMMING: To maximize resources, SFGovTV will seek out high quality pre-produced programming that addresses the needs and interests of the citizens of San Francisco and that meets the priorities spelled out in Section III. All pre-produced programming must be sponsored by a government agency to be cablecast on SFGovTV.
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V. Programming restriction

  1. Any obscene or salacious material.
  2. Any material which violates Federal, State or Local law.
  3. A lottery as defined by the Federal Communication Commission regulations or any advertisement of or information concerning a lottery.
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VII. Disposition of meeting recordings

  1. The original recording of each meeting may be maintained by SFGovTV for production purposes.
  2. Both master recordings and copies will be copyrighted in the name of the City and County of San Francisco to prevent unauthorized taping or use of the program.
  3. SFGovTV staff will make a copy available for the general public through the Main Public Library. These recordings will be maintained by the library.
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