Welcome to public media’s independent voice.

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television and cable, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens Monday nights at 10:00 PM on PBS.

ITVS receives core funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. The GPP is made possible through the support of Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Mission Statement

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) brings independently-produced, high-quality public broadcast and new media programs to local, national and international audiences. The independent producers who create ITVS programs take creative risks, tackle complex issues and express points of view seldom explored in the mass media. ITVS programs enrich the cultural landscape with the voices and visions of underrepresented communities, and reflect the interests and concerns of a diverse society.


ITVS supports a dynamic field of independent media makers whose programs creatively engage audiences, expand cultural awareness and catalyze civic participation. ITVS embraces technical innovation to advance the production and distribution of independent media worldwide. The independent perspectives embodied in ITVS programs are considered by a broad public to be essential to a civil society.

Statement of Values

In an era of expanding commercial use of the Internet and consolidation of media ownership, a free public media sector is critical to an open and informed society. The following values underlie the work of ITVS:

  • Freedom of expression is a human right.
  • A free press and public access to information are foundations of democracy.
  • An open society allows unpopular and minority views to be publicly aired.
  • A civilized society seeks economic and social justice.
  • A just society seeks participation by those without power, prominence or wealth.
  • A free nation allows all citizens forums in which to tell their stories and express their opinions.


ITVS was created by independent producers, the media arts community, and NGOs seeking to foster plurality, diversity, and innovation in public television. In 1988, Congress mandated the creation of a service dedicated to independently produced programming that takes creative risks, sparks public dialogue, and gives voice to underserved communities. ITVS funded its first wave of programs in 1991, introduced its national community engagement project in 1999, and internationalized in 2005 with the Global Perspectives Project (GPP). The GPP brings the work of international filmmakers to U.S. viewers and American independently produced programs to public media systems abroad.