Venezuela profile

Participant at a rally in support of the private Venezuelan TV station Globovision Critics accused former leader Hugo Chavez of stifling dissent

Venezuela's many private broadcasters operate alongside state-run radio and TV.

State telecom firm Cantv operates a multichannel TV platform via the Venesat 1 satellite. Digital terrestrial TV is being rolled out.

Former President Chavez was accused of creating an intimidating climate for journalists, while some private media were accused of being involved in the opposition movement against him.

Officials have used legal channels to close down opposition TV and radio networks, says Reporters Without Borders. Under President Chavez, dozens of TV and radio stations had their licences revoked.

Globovision, the sole remaining opposition TV station, was sold in 2013. The new owners said the network's editorial line would change.

A law on "social responsibility" gives the government the power to control radio and TV content, says Freedom House.

Venezuela is the main shareholder in Telesur, a Caracas-based pan-American TV. Governments with a stake in the venture are all left wing or left of centre.

There were 12 million internet users by June 2012 (Internetworldstats.com). Of these, more than 9.6 million had Facebook accounts. Top officials, government bodies and state media use Twitter. Plaxed.com and Venesocial.com are home-grown social media sites.

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