A survey conducted by DatinCorp in December 2017 showed that 64 percent of Venezuelans expected the situation of the country to get worse in the following months. The events of 2018 and, mostly, the political instability that increased in 2019 have proved them right, and the first months of 2020 have not offered the conditions for any improvement, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trust in media, especially traditional ones, continues its decrease; only Twitter and WhatsApp have won relevance compared to other platforms as they are harder to control from the government or from other groups. It is precisely control from the government or its supporters that creates one of the main challenges for media landscape in Venezuela, as the buying off of critical and independent media, adverse legislation, censorship and violation of journalists’ rights keep taking place and silencing dissident voices, leading others to self-censorship. The worst part of this is the closing of media, mainly small groups and print media that are also affected by the shortage of newsprint, but also radio and television stations and more recently digital media as well; these closings, that are explained by political and economic reasons, have clearly diminished plurality and quality of information access. For these reasons, the action of professional associations and trade unions will continue being essential in their fight for a free press.
Media and the two main political groups will stay strongly interconnected in a very polarised and politicised context in which independent voices are hard to hear. All this, together with the rise of alternative channels that try to escape from this division, could help the already strong presence of fake news, disinformation strategies and echo chambers. And again, this would keep trust in the media going down, making it very difficult to leave this spiral. These problematics affect the population of Venezuela more or less equally; in general, rural, old and less wealthy people have it harder to get plural and reliable information and communication services, but the distribution of poverty and lack of goods does not show big differences, reaching almost everybody.
As long as the political and economic crisis and the lack of freedom for journalists persist, the media scenario will hardly improve. The same applies for technological innovation and for the development of mobile and digital infrastructure and of services and education in the field of communication.
The changes in the political arena, with Maduro's government in his weakest position and strongly confronted with neighbor countries such as Colombia or the USA, the constant risk of a civil war and the still unknown consequences of the coronavirus situation, can affect all the previously analysed scenario; however, not many big changes are expected soon in the deteriorated media landscape of Venezuela.