The League of Women Voters of the Hamptons deplores the action of Cablevision in removing the PEG (public, educational and governmental programming) networks from basic tier service. We believe that the current Southampton SEA-TV and East Hampton LTV Channels 20 and 22, respectively, must be accessible to all residents, at the lowest possible cost and without the need for additional equipment.
Access to the public airwaves through modern TV/video communication is essential to the public interest and to League of Women Voters’ mission and purpose— to protect civil liberties, to ensure open, transparent government, and to promote the public’s right to know. To protect the public interest, high quality PEG transmission and PEG availability on basic service tiers are essential. The League of Women Voters believes that community access television channels—for public, educational, and governmental programming—must be adequately protected, promoted, and funded. Public affairs programming must be available to all residents.
Dissemination of information is essential to the protection of democracy. Our local governments, by broadcasting the meetings of the town and other government boards, have taken an important step to open the workings of government to the public. Promotion of this transparency is an important goal of the League. Limiting access to this information by placing technological and monetary barriers between citizens and their government is a breach of the public trust. It has been established that lack of information is a barrier to voting. Citizens say they do not feel they are informed enough to make the right decision. They do not vote for fear of making the wrong choice.
PEG stations broadcast candidates’ debates, speeches and community forums at which people running for office become familiar to the public. Finally, one of the important missions of the League is to help educate the public about issues of community interest and concern. To that end, we sponsor community forums which are open to the public. The subsequent broadcast of those forums on PEG networks provides broader dissemination of the information critical to the public’s knowledge. CAROL MELLORPresidentLeague of Women Voters of the Hamptons