When I learned that WBAL-TV would not be broadcasting the May 7 Democratic debate in the governor's race, I was seriously concerned ("First TV debates announced in governor's race," April 24). With the number of undecided voters increasing instead of decreasing, it should be clear that Maryland citizens need all the information they can get.

I called WBAL to ask what was going on and was told this was a network decision made at NBC headquarters in New York. I tried there and got shunted to a comment-line voice mail. Evidently, NBC doesn't really want to deal with viewers.

This matter is serious. Maryland voters should have access to all possible information before the election, and televised debates are one of the best ways of allowing voters to assess the candidates. Moreover, broadcast licenses come with an obligation of public service. The legal force of that has been shamefully weakened, but the moral force remains. NBC makes more than enough profit in Maryland. It owes us a full airing of the gubernatorial debates in all media markets, not just one debate here, another there.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam, Baltimore

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