Digital media

Internet participation is growing steadily. The study on cultural consumption made by DANE in 2017 reveals that Internet users have grown from 52.5 percent of Colombians in 2012 to 60.6 percent in 2014 and then to 62.3 percent in 2017. In the same year, 81.5 percent of the population that was 5 years old or older used the Internet to: Read messages and chat (67.7 percent), search information (63.2 percent), read, watch or listen to media (23.8 percent). Up to 69.4 percent of the people who used the Internet in Colombia did it every day of the week.

According to the General Media Study in Colombia, besides Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Colombians most used digital services are Google, YouTube, Gmail, Outlook, Wikipedia, Yahoo and Skype. This is consistent with the idea that the Internet is used mainly to search for information (Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, Yahoo) and answer messages or chat (Gmail, Outlook, Skype).

The 10 most read newspapers in Colombia also have their digital version. El Tiempo, Publimetro, El Colombiano and El Espectador are focused on the web page format from which they constantly provide updated information and manage social networks. However, some of these publications such as Semana, El Espectador and El Tiempo are starting to limit access to online articles and column, forcing interested readers to pay a subscription. The quality of these digital media has improved a lot, leading media such as El Tiempo and Semana to win several national and international awards.

Local newspapers such as Q'hubo, Al Día and ADN, on the other hand, only show digital versions of the print one in PDF format. A study by Said-Hung, Arcila-Calderón and Méndez-Barraza states that around 90 percent of the media that do not have a digital version are regional and local.

It should also be pointed out that a significant number of independent digital media have emerged with increasing connections by different audiences. Given that many of these media do not work with the commercial logic of traditional media, their positions on the facts are much more critical. Such is the case of La Silla Vacia, founded by Juanita León with funds received from the Open Society Institute which today is considered one of the most independent media in the country. Other news media platforms also stand for their independence from commercial and political interests are Razón Pública, Verdad Abierta, La 2 Orilla and KienyKe.

Given the negotiation of the peace process and the scarce State presence, producing a fragile public order in certain areas, there is a demand of information about topics such as the advance of the agreement of the peace process and facts related to human rights. Different digital initiatives such as Pacifista, Rutas del Conflicto, Verdad Abierta and Razón Publica have emerged, some of them funded with international resources coming from European countries and the United States. They are playing a key role in monitoring fundamental topics related to the advance of the peace agreement, the role played by different key government actors in the peace process and the voice of the victims of the conflict, which are essential to guarantee a well-informed public sphere in regards to public affairs.

The national channels RCN and Caracol have their digital platforms that offer a live signal and upload episodes of their programmes, thus adapting to the new way of watching TV. Caracol even has its own website dedicated to audiovisual productions such as Caracol Play. Both are involved in producing web series.

Digital media have been incorporated into projects related to the peace process in the country. The Victims Unit launched Paz a la Voz, a digital video game that, through playful-pedagogical content and multimedia formats, allows children and young victims of the armed conflict to learn about opportunities offered by the Participation Protocol. The application was developed by the company Medea Interactiva, winner of the Participathon #VocesAgudas, a contest convened in March 2018 by the Victims Unit with the support of various international and national organisations, demonstrating the constructive use of digital media in the post agreement era.

Conversely, the National Liberation Army (ELN in Spanish), one of the main Colombian armed groups, constantly publishes articles in its print and digital magazine Insurrection. The former armed group FARC-EP, now called Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común (Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common), has his own portal and its own media press agency Agencia de Noticias Nueva Colombia (News Agency of the New Colombia - ANNCOL) that have alliances with several media linked to social organisations such as the Rural Press Agency, the Alternative Media Network - Colombian Popular Press Agency (REMA-ACPP), and the Popular Communicators Network of the South of Colombia (RECPSUR).