To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters is a citizens’ organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and encourage all citizens to take an active and informed part in the decisions that impact their lives. A fundamental principle of the League states “that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation in government and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.” We believe local public-access television, in keeping with this principle, promotes an informed citizenry and openness in local government.
Town-specific programming, delivered by means of community access television channels, is vital to the mission of the League of Women Voters. In Fairfield, citizens have come to rely heavily on Channels 78 and 79 for the ability to “attend” town government meetings, particularly those of the Board of Selectmen, Boards of Finance and Education, and Representative Town Meetings.
Apart from a very small budget allowance from the town of Fairfield, FairTV is dependent on the funding received from the Area Two Advisory Council to deliver town- specific programming. If Sound View Community is successful in the current litigation, FairTV would cease.
Tradition is long established in the United States that the availability of the airwaves to commercial and non-profit broadcasting entities must be balanced with the responsibility of providing access to programming. Public-access television is part of that responsibility.
Through public-access television, citizens become informed participants in local issues, playing their role in our “by the people, of the people, and for the people” government.
For these reasons, the Fairfield League of Women Voters opposes Sound View Community Media’s Complaint and fervently endorses the continued existence of FairTV.
Bryce Perry and Pat Reilly
Co-Presidents, Fairfield League of Women Voters