Venezuela profile - Media

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Participant at a rally in support of the private Venezuelan TV station GlobovisionImage source, AFP
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Critics accused former leader Hugo Chavez of stifling dissent

Political polarisation is mirrored in the media, a process that began under the late president Hugo Chavez, whose critics accused him of persecuting hostile outlets during his 1999-2013 rule.

Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro say he has continued these tactics, which have also been condemned by media freedom groups.

Anti-government and exile media have emerged online.

Many journalists have fled Venezuela because of threats and physical dangers, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Print media are often affected by "strange newsprint shortages", RSF says. Some newspapers have reported being forced to stop printing after being denied hard currency to buy newsprint and ink.

The government's main TV mouthpiece is Venezolana de Television (VTV), which carries Mr Maduro's speeches and reports on the activities of his ministers. Its coverage routinely ignores the opposition.

Telecoms regulators have barred many of VTV's competitors from cable networks. Globovision, a one-time critical outlet, changed its editorial line after it was sold to government-linked owners in 2013.

Venezuela is the main shareholder in Telesur, a Caracas-based pan-American TV. Governments with a stake in the venture are all left wing or left of centre.

There were 17.2 million internet users by the end of 2017 (

The government and its opponents use social media as a battleground. Officials and the military operate an array of interlocking Twitter accounts, as does the opposition movement.

During street violence in early 2019, NetBlocks, a digital rights organisation, documented disruptions in access to Twitter, Facebook and video streaming app Periscope..

The press