Media of Venezuela

Media of Venezuela
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Venezuela | Politics

Media of Venezuela comprise the mass and niche news and information communications infrastructure of Venezuela. Thus, the media of Venezuela consists of several different types of communications media: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, and Internet-based news outlets and websites. Venezuela also has a strong music industry and arts scene.



Some of Venezuela's mass media are privately operated and derive most of their revenues from advertising, subscriptions, and sale or distribution of copyrighted materials. A substantial proportion[clarification needed] of the Venezuelan television, newspaper, and radio markets is controlled by state-owned outlets.[citation needed] The government has its own news agency, Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias.

The main private television networks are RCTV; Televen; Venevisión; Globovisión. State television includes Venezolana de Televisión, TVes, ViVe (cultural network) and teleSUR (Caracas-based pan-Latin American channel sponsored by seven Latin American states). There are also local community-run television stations such as Televisora Comunitaria del Oeste de Caracas (CatiaTVe). The Venezuelan government also provides funding to Avila TV, Buena TV and Asamblea Nacional TV (ANTV).

The major Venezuelan newspapers are El Nacional, Últimas Noticias and El Universal; all of which are private companies and based in Caracas. There are also many regional newspapers.


Venezuela was the ninth country in the world to have television, introduced in 1952 by Marcos Pérez Jiménez. By 1963 a quarter of Venezuelan households had television; a figure rising to 45% by 1969 and 85% by 1982.[1]

During the period when the political system was dominated by Accion Democratica (AD) and COPEI (1958–1998), after the closure of Accion Democratica's La Republica in 1969, none of the major newspapers or broadcasters were affiliated with a political party. However because of the importance of the two main parties, most newspapers had regular columnists or editorialists presenting the views of AD and COPEI on the issues of the day.[2] During this period, both parties promised Congressional seats to publishers in exchange for favourable coverage. In 1983, a deal with Jaime Lusinchi's presidential campaign resulted in four representatives of the Bloque DeArmas publishing group being elected to Congress on AD slates. A similar deal had been struck by COPEI in 1968 on behalf of Rafael Caldera, promising Miguel Angel Capriles a Senate seat and the right to designate eleven Congressional candidates.[2]


After the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan press "failed miserably in their duty to provide information that their fellow citizens needed to navigate the storms of Venezuelan politics under Chavez. Instead, media owners and their editors used the news - print and broadcast - to spearhead an opposition movement against Chavez."[3] The programme of Bolivarian Missions was (until 2005) "virtually invisible in the mainstream press".[3] Encouraged by verbal attacks by Chavez and other officials, editors "began routinely winking at copy containing unfounded speculation, rumor, and unchecked facts."[3] This contributed to a polarization such that for a time reporters were regularly attacked in the street by Chavez supporters with bottles and sticks.[3] According to a political reporter for El Nacional speaking in 2005, "the common attitude has been that we can leave aside ethics and the rules of journalism".[3] Alonso Moleiro said that "Reporters bought the argument that you have to put journalistic standards aside, that if we don't get rid of Chavez, we will have communism and Fidelismo."[3] The head of the Institute for Press and Society in Venezuela said that "here you had the convergence in the media of two things: grave journalistic errors - to the extreme of silencing information on the most important news events - and taking political positions to the extreme of advocating a nondemocratic, insurrectional path."[3] After the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt, in which the media played a significant role, there was a change in editorial policy of the major newspapers, with a wider mix of opposition, pro-Chavez and independent commentators. The generally non-partisan Últimas Noticias gained circulation at the expense of El Nacional and El Universal, which remained more associated with the opposition. Television networks also moderated their tone, with several of the opposition talk shows with the most extreme rhetoric, including talk of violence against Chavez and his followers, taken off the air.[3]

In 2009 the government reviewed the broadcast licences of hundreds of radio and television stations, and declared many to have been operating without a licence or without having paid the appropriate regulatory fees.[4] As a result over 60 radio stations were closed.[5] The government said the frequencies would be reallocated to community media,[4] and passed a law limiting ownership of radio and television licences to three per private owner. This was aimed at tackling what it called "media latifundios", with 27 families controlling a third of radio and television.[4]

In 2010 declassified US State Department documents showed over $4m of funding (in the previous 3 years) to Venezuelan journalists and private media opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution, part of a larger $40m funding for opposition groups.[6]


Television in Venezuela began in 1952 when the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez launched the state channel Televisora Nacional, making Venezuela the ninth country in the world to have television. By 1963 a quarter of Venezuelan households had television; a figure rising to 45% by 1969 and 85% by 1982.[1] Telenovelas are popular in Venezuela, and some Venezuelan productions (such as 1992's Cara Sucia) are distributed internationally. Perhaps the best known television show internationally is however President Hugo Chávez' weekly talkshow Aló Presidente, which began in 1999.

The main private television networks are RCTV (launched 1953, losing its terrestrial broadcast licence 2007); Venevisión (1961); Televen (1988); Globovisión (1994). State television includes Venezolana de Televisión (1964 as a private channel, nationalised in 1974), TVes (2007), ViVe (cultural network, 2003) and teleSUR (Caracas-based pan-Latin American channel sponsored by seven Latin American states, 2005). There are also local community-run television stations such as Televisora Comunitaria del Oeste de Caracas (CatiaTVe, 2001) and a range of regional networks such as Zuliana de Televisión. The Venezuelan government also provides funding to Avila TV (2006), Buena TV and Asamblea Nacional TV (ANTV, network of the National Assembly of Venezuela, 2005).

In recent years, the audience share of private terrestrial broadcasters has fallen from around 80% in 2000 to around 60% in 2010, with the bulk of the lost audience going to cable and satellite broadcasters, which increased audience share from around 17% to around 33% over the same period. State television's low share, of around 2%, increased to 5%, although the government also makes regular use of cadenas (mandatory interruptions on all channels to show government broadcasts).[7]


TeleSUR was founded in 2005 to provide 24-hour news and cultural programming that reflects the diversity of the Latin American region. It is owned and paid for by several countries: Venezuela (which provides 54% of the network's budget), Argentina (15%), Cuba (14%), Uruguay (7%), Bolivia (5%) and Nicaragua (5%). TeleSUR has regional offices in Caracas, Bogotá, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Havana, La Paz, Lima, Quito, Managua and Washington DC.[unreliable source?][8]




See also


  1. ^ a b Swanson, David and Mancini, Paolo (1996), Politics, media, and modern democracy: an international study of innovations in electoral campaigning and their consequences, Greenwood Publishing, p240
  2. ^ a b Coppedge, Michael (1994), Strong Parties and Lame Ducks: Presidential Partyarchy and Factionalism in Venezuela, Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp35-36
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Dinges, John. Columbia Journalism Review (July 2005). "Soul Search", Vol. 44 Issue 2, July–August 2005, pp52-8
  4. ^ a b c Venezuelanalysis, 3 August 2009, Venezuela to Transfer Private Media Concessions to Community Media
  5. ^ Reuters, 5 September 2009, Chavez minister vows more Venezuela radio closings
  6. ^ Eva Golinger,, Documents reveal multimillion-dollar funding to journalists and media in Venezuela, 15 July 2010
  7. ^ Mark Weisbrot and Tara Ruttenberg, 14 December 2010, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Television in Venezuela: Who Dominates the Media?
  8. ^ "Telesur: A Broadcast Alternative for the Americas". Venezuela Information Office. 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 

Further reading

  • Dinges, John. Columbia Journalism Review (July 2005). "Soul Search", Vol. 44 Issue 2, July–August 2005, pp52–8
  • Duno Gottberg, Luis (2004), "Mob outrages: reflections on the media construction of the masses in Venezuela (April 2000 - January 2003)", Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 13(1), pp115–135

External links

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