Complaint Filed Over DISH Networks’ Refusal to Broadcast Educational Television Channel

On Tuesday, Minority Television Project Inc. (Minority), a local broadcast television station based in San Francisco, California, filed a lawsuit against DISH Network L.L.C. for allegedly failing to obey an order issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The complaint asserts that the FCC’s order required Dish Networks to carry Minority’s KMTP-TV signal beginning on Jan. 1, but to date, the satellite television company has yet to comply.

The filing explains that Minority is a non-profit corporation that offers educational non-commercial television, while Dish Network, a Colorado company, carries and distributes local broadcast television stations to its subscribers around the United States. According to the Northern District of California complaint, the dispute originated when Minority filed a mandatory carriage request seeking carriage for the three-year election cycle that began Jan. 1, 2018.

After Dish Networks reportedly refused carriage, Minority filed a “must-carry complaint” with the FCC. In 2020, the agency ruled that Minority had timely filed a mandatory carriage request for the three-year election cycle that began Jan. 1, and, therefore, that Dish Networks was required to carry KMTP’s signal commencing on that date.

The complaint seeks declaratory relief and a permanent injunction requiring the defendant to obey the FCC’s order by carrying the television broadcast for KMTP-TV on Dish Network’s broadcast satellite service through the end of 2023.

Minority is represented by Steyer Lowenthal Boodrookas Alvarez & Smith LLP and Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke L.L.P.