Index 2024
156/ 180
Score : 33.06
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
159/ 180
Score : 36.99
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Since becoming president in 2013, Nicolás Maduro has continued the "communication hegemony" policy established by his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Venezuela is very restrictive for the news media, with policies that threaten the existence of independent journalism. 

Media landscape

After Nicolás Maduro came to power, the government stepped up measures designed to rein in media pluralism. The government’s monopoly on the importation of newsprint and printing supplies resulted in the disappearance of the print editions of about a hundred newspapers. An opaque policy for granting and revoking radio broadcast frequencies resulted in the closure of 200 radio stations. The Venezuelan government also blocks online news content, thus impacting independent media sites. The main independent media are Radio Fe y AlegríaEfecto CocuyoRunrunesUnión RadioEl Estímulo, El Pitazo and El Diario

Political context

In Venezuela, the executive branch has tight control over the judicial and legislative branches, which has resulted in a shaky institutional system. Despite signs of exhaustion within the opposition and pro-democracy forces, a new leadership was consolidated around Maria Corina Machado at the end of 2023, after she won an opposition primary election. But she was disqualified by a 15-year ineligibility sentence issued by the Supreme Court in January 2024, while Nicolás Maduro is a candidate for a third term. The state media and government spokespersons do not hesitate to discredit, prosecute, and even publicly threaten independent journalists.

Legal framework

Also freedom of expression is enshrined in article 58 of the constitution, there is no policy to protect it. Extravagant measures such as the “anti-hate” law have recently been approved by the National Constituent Assembly controlled by the Maduro government, which has illegally seized legislative powers. Some 80 Venezuelans, including 17 journalists and media outlets, have been sanctioned under this law, mainly for criticising influential people, especially on social media. 

Economic context

Between 2015 and 2020, the country’s economy collapsed under the combined effect of the world’s highest inflation rates and worst fall in GDP. Since 2021, the macroeconomic indicators have shown some signs of improvement but vary according to region and sector. In 2023, sanctions on the oil industry were eased, which helped revive the economy. The economic crisis has caused a drastic cut in state advertising, which is allocated in an opaque and arbitrary manner that favours pro-government media. To receive this form of financial support, the media must agree to broadcast government messages for free. 

Sociocultural context

Venezuelan society has undergone a generalised crisis that has degraded living conditions. In response to the five-year economic crisis, millions of citizens have emigrated to neighbouring countries: an estimated quarter of the total population, mainly young people of working age, have left Venezuela in recent years. 


Journalism is heavily restricted in Venezuela. Reporters are often beaten or threatened in the course of their work during elections or political conflicts. As President Maduro controls both the attorney general’s office and the ombudsman’s office, neither helps to guarantee the safety of journalists, with the result that physical or verbal violence against them is seldom investigated.