BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Charter Communications, in its ongoing effort to stifle the voice of the Armenian-American community by arbitrarily yanking Horizon Armenian Television off the air on February 19, has resorted to blatantly lying to its customers by claiming that Horizon and Charter were unable to reach an agreement. That is a flagrant LIE.
On the Charter Communication Web site, the company’s leadership stated: “Charter’s prior contract with Horizon Armenian TV expired on Dec. 30, 2012. For a number of reasons, a new agreement between Charter and Horizon was not reached. As a result, Horizon will be removed from Charter’s channel line-up effective Feb. 19, 2013.”
Horizon Armenian Television, after engaging in the annual contract negotiations with Charter—as it has done for the past 14 years—signed and delivered the contract to Charter, even agreeing to a 25 percent fee hike imposed by Charter (See accompanying graphic).
On the same Web page, Charter is welcoming the addition of a new Armenian channel that will replace Horizon. Charter uses this announcement to pledge its so-called commitment to Armenian programming.
Charter seems to think that the Armenian-American community, which comprises 40 percent of the population of Glendale and 35 percent of the population Burbank, will be satisfied with the number of channels offering Armenian programming and will turn a blind eye to the egregious effort by the corporation to stifle Horizon Television whose mission to serve the community has been the backbone of its popularity since its inception in 1989.
The community has spoken and its message has been loud and clear! The outpouring of support for Horizon and anger toward Charter should send a signal to those corporate minions who have resorted to lies and deceptions to advance their agenda.
Charter seems to be forgetting that it was its partnership with Horizon Armenian Television in 2000 that households in Glendale, Burbank and La Crescenta began subscribing to its extended programming tier. Charter leaders are also forgetting the role Horizon played in migrating viewers to the digital tier of programming.
This action by Charter is nothing but bad corporate citizenship and a clear effort by a large corporation that controls a significant portion of an area’s telecommunications facilities to disenfranchise citizens and stifle community voices.
The community, however, has clearly signaled that has not been deceived by Charter’s lies and corporate maneuverings and will raise its voice and join this fight against injustice and for the preservation of one of the most critical pillars of the community—the press and media.
Let us all join “Save Horizon Television Task Force” on Saturday, February 9 in front of Charter Communication’s Glendale offices and protest Charter unfair business practice and counter their belligerent lies.