The recent anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, in direct protest of President Nicolas Maduro, have not only taken the country by storm, but social media as well.
Social media is uncovering the truths and lies behind what Venezuelans, and Americans, hear and see through mainstream broadcast news. Recently, former president Hugo Chavez forced a slant in media coverage, making Venezuelan broadcasters report biased and political propaganda-driven news.
This has caused the new generation of Venezuelans to take action—this time, not in a physical manner.
“I don’t trust our television and radio stations at all,” said Adriana Sanchez in a brief interview with USA Today in Caracas. “The government stations just run propaganda, while the few privately owned stations are afraid to broadcast the truth. What other options do we have?”
Many Venezuelans have resorted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay informed and to understand the discrepancy between what they see on their television screens and what they read online. While both the government and the opposition are using social media to promote their own agendas, the truth is more readily available to citizens who need it most—including journalists.
According to the Venezuelan news website, panorama.com.ve, media outlets have been victimized by protesters and police harassing journalists on the streets.
CNN reported this week that its news crew had its cameras and transmission taken away at gunpoint.
This suppressive nature of news journalism has had a tremendous impact on what major news corporations and publications from around the world are reporting. While the chaos continues to unravel in Venezuela, news outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, BBC, and Al Jazeera English, have all had minimal coverage of Venezuela due to this lack of information.
Therefore, it has been up to Venezuelans to make a stand for their rights and their country without fighting fire with fire. From the Venezuelan-Americans of Miami to the new generation of Venezuelan descendants around the world, social media has provided more ways to uncover the truth than ever before.