Paper Tiger Television (PTTV), founded in 1981 in New York City, by Dee Dee Halleck (an original founder), is a non-profit organization created by artists, activists, scholars, and volunteers as a response to present social, political, cultural, environmental, and economical problems that have an impact on all of us.
Dedicated to raising media literacy and challenging corporate control over broadcast medium, PTTV promotes programming that encourages open discussion about local and global problems. PTTV envisions itself as a media forum where everyone has the rights to share his/her information and opinions concerning free speech. And it does this through programming that provides news and perspectives missing from mainstream media corporations.
Thanks to alternative media outlets like PTTV, we have a forum where the consumer can be a producer (do-it-yourself (DIY) community media movement). Today, everyone can tell about his or her local problems (for example the movies: “Paper Tiger at ‘The Square’, Learning, Growing, Eating” and “Protest at Penn Station, May 4th”) and global problems (Cities respond to the “BP Gulf oil Spill: Artists Respond”), which impact contemporary life. On the Paper Tiger TV website, I watched some movies which changed my opinion about the role of alternative media. For example, in the movie, “Going Postal,” we hear that it was always very important for this country to have freedom of speech and free access to all information. And the movie, “Golf of Mexico Sill, June 22-24, 2010” is a response to the local and global problem of pollution. It is impossible to describe and write about all the movies that I watched on the PPTV blog because they are so diverse, yet educational and interesting (Along with programs about free speech and pollution, there was also the movie, Paper Tiger Read: 21st Century Working Woman, that describes a woman’s place in contemporary society).
After watching the different movies on PPTV, I realized that there is a danger when we simply assume that mainstream media will provide us with unlimited information and a complete picture on issues touching all aspects of our lives, our country, and our globe. Alternative media provides us with what is missing in the mainstream media: different points of view where we can form our own opinions.
More importantly, alternative media productions like Paper Tiger TV, is not beholden to providing information in order to make a profit. Because PPTV is not the media creation of large corporate business, its programming can turn a critical eye on those very companies that shape and control news information funneled through the mainstream media. I felt that the PPTV programming was at the service of providing information and differing opinion so the viewer could make informed choices. And that goal trumps the desire to “turn” a profit. PPTV showed me the world and the world’s challenges as they “are” and not the way powerful companies want me to see the world through their productions (and products).
Today, the relationship between mainstream media (and their corporations) and independent programming resembles the fight between David and Goliath. Mainstream media is big production for big money. I want to believe that independent media works differently and for a different goal. Less concerned with money, independent programming keeps the viewer connected with all of the small and local challenges that make up our “entire” world. And every piece of our local world – every angle and perspective – helps us to think and see on a global scale without a corporate media filter.