Government-access television (GATV) is a type of specialty television channel created by government entities (generally local governments) and broadcast over cable TV systems or, in some cases, over-the-air broadcast television stations. GATV programming generally deals with public affairs, board meetings (i.e. city council, county commission, and school board), explanation of government services, and other public-service related programming such as public service announcements and longer public information films.
In the United States, laws regarding GATV are contained in the US Code, title 47, section 531 (47 U.S.C. § 531), and are enforced by the Federal Communications Commission. Since cable systems are privately owned entities (unlike broadcast television), the must-carry requirement for GATV channels is often drawn out in local franchising agreements for the municipality or county it operates in.
Statewide government access channels