Paper Tiger Television, through the collaborative efforts of artists, activists and scholars, has pioneered experimental, innovative and truly alternative community media since 1981. An early innovator in video art and public access television of the early 80’s, PTTV developed a unique, handmade, irreverent aesthetic that experimented with the television medium by combining art, academics, politics, performance and live television.
PTTV, founded on the ideal that freedom of speech through access to the means of communication is essential in a democratic society, regularly exposed the hidden agenda of the mainstream media and questioned the powerful grip of corporate influence on media content to become the first nationally disseminated public access television program. Dee Dee Halleck, one of the original founders of PTTV puts it this way, “It is one thing to critique the mass media and rail against their abuses. It is quite another to create viable alternatives.” PTTV has been recognized for critical analysis of information sources and for being on the cutting edge of video with screenings, exhibits and installations in museums and galleries around the world. In many cases, PTTV productions are invaluable video documentation of the ideas and insights of some of our nation’s most notable media critics and public intellectuals.
The PTTV archive houses one of the most unique and important historical alternative media collections, encompassing critical components of the evolution of public access television, video art, video activism, and media reform. PTTV has influenced and supported grassroots media activist organizations through providing an innovative model for community media spurring the global development of a do-it-yourself (DIY) community media movement. Today’s burgeoning independent media movement can trace its roots directly to the network of media activists developed by PTTV throughout the 1980s. With the recent explosion of Internet video distribution, DIY media has grown from an isolated endeavor to an increasingly powerful international phenomenon building on the pioneering work of a New York City video collective that began making its anarchic, improvisational commentary and satire on modern media culture 25 years ago.
Over the years, thousands have enjoyed the intelligent, irreverent, ultra-low-budget antics of PTTV. PTTV has a long history of creating radical critiques of mass culture and politics, and providing innovative leadership for documentary filmmakers, artists, media literacy educators and social justice media movements around the world.
PTTV is recognized internationally for its contribution to video art, theory and documentary tradition. PTTV programs analyze and critique issues involving media, culture and politics. Many programs examine a particular aspect of the communications industry, from print media to TV to movies, looking at its impact on public perception and opinion. Other videos represent the people and views which are largely absent from the mainstream media. The goal of our work is to provide viewers with a critical understanding of the communications industry. We believe this critical consciousness is a necessary step towards more equitable and democratic control of information resources. Since its founding, PTTV has expanded its activities to include the production of original documentaries and activist videos, and providing media literacy and production training to activists and community members.