Photo: The Conversation retrieved 

On the weekend of August 25, three Venezuelan newspapers made the same announcement: they’re ceasing operations, including websites and social networks.

Javier Oropeza, owner of Barquisimeto’s El Diario de Lara and Carora’s El Caroreño, explained the reasons for the hiatus (which he expects to be as brief as possible):

“…as much as I fought to keep afloat both media outlets, the economic measures dictated by the national government on August 17, 2018, make it impossible to sustain them, even if we’ve tried to remain with you, stretching the newspapers’ quality to the limit…”

For Portuguesa’s Última Hora, the situation was dire, with the devastating effects of Newsprint-geddon, forcing the paper to go digital-only. That’s no longer a viable option.

Another llanero paper, Visión Apureña, informed readers that it would cease functioning, thus Apure becomes the second Venezuelan State with no newspapers in the streets, after Sucre. Days later, Bolívar’s El Expreso told readers it was entering a “technical closure.”

The consequences of Red Friday are forcing many outlets to make serious adjustments to their workforce and operations. According to the latest info from SNTP, the National Press Workers’ Union, at least ten media outlets are directly affected.

For local papers across the country, making their print editions go full digital was a last resort to save jobs and keep informing audiences, but the government’s recent decisions regarding the economy could shut down that option as well.

The consequences of Red Friday are forcing many outlets to make serious adjustments to their workforce and operations.

Even El Universal, one of the few nationwide papers, is really struggling and, after the news of the new pay raises broke, it allegedly asked its journalists to get the carnet de la patria. Since its mysterious-but-not-quite takeover years ago, the paper became aligned with the State’s communicational hegemony, but that didn’t help to escape the crisis.

El Universal denied such reports, calling them “fake news,” but one of its journalists (Lorena Evelyn Arraiz) confirmed them on Twitter. She quit in response, as also did Pableysa Ostos, correspondent for the Guayana Region.

But our media landscape was coping with lots of problems before Red Friday: The latest survey over the current state of journalism in Venezuela, by specialized NGO Medianálisis, presents how issues like low wages, scarce tools and insufficient preparation (besides censorship) make the work a constant, uphill battle.  

If local media outlets start closing down, people will find less options to find reliable news about their communities, as State media is mostly interested in promoting its political agenda. Those holding up do so against great odds.

After all, it’s already hard to cover news in Venezuela, with threats by authorities on the streets and formal letters from the broadcasting regulator.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a miracle that real, independent news media has been able to survive this long in VZ. I questioned this about an article in CC regarding radio stations.

    Without ad revenue, how do they survive? And who the fuck is advertising in VZ nowadays anyway?

    No problem for government media and their propaganda. They just steal all the money they need.

  2. “Sin papel no hay periodico”, pero mierda si hay, y bastante, con o sin papel, one might add – ref. sewage in Maracaibo; Ref. El Guaire

  3. On the bright side, when the archaic printed papers shut down, the remaining, often corrupt and ignorant pueblo-people might be forced to join the modern world, and fight for internet access, tablets and good phones with lots of potent data. (dream on..)

    • Dream on is right:

      This country is moving backwards to the point that they’re using smoke signals and banging on drums to communicate village to village.

  4. One thing Ive learned over the years is that in Venezuela all news get disseminated , no matter what effort iis made to silence it , by word of mouth or any other available means , people love to gossip , specially against the govt , since always…. the regime is a sieve , even when they try to keep something under wraps there is always a friend inside the govt who is glad to spill the beans to family , to friends eve in they know they are oppo. , aside from the fact that there is information that one can observe just from experiencing daily life. the news will get a bit exagerated and adorned but usually to emphasize the govts corrupt ineptness….no body belived in iguanas or in CIA or colombian plots ..years and years of listening to lies have made people wary of anything they hear from the regime .

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