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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

New interactive from IPYS Venezuela maps the country's media



The team at the Press and Society Institute (IPYS for its acronym in Spanish) Venezuela has found a more accessible way to present information it was collecting about the country's media.

A new interactive map from IPYS Venezuela shows the breakdown of media in each state of the country. (Screenshot courtesy IPYS Venezuela)
 

“We did not want to simply present a directory of media in Venezuela, but allow the user to browse interactively by each state in the country and know the real situation of the media,” said journalist and project coordinator Katherine Pennacchio in an email interview with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

The map is a work in progress and, at the moment, does not contain information from media of all Venezuelan states. Since there are still spaces to complete, Pennacchio said it would be rash to draw definitive conclusions. However, she said preliminary analysis shows that 56 percent of media analyzed are community media and most of these have pro-government tendencies. Additionally, 65 percent can be classified as radio. Digital media have the lowest presence in the country.

The team used interactive visualization tool CartoDB to create the map. The color of each state represents violations of freedom of expression recorded by IPYS Venezuela during 2014, according to Pennacchio.

When a user hovers over a state, an information window appears that shows general information about the state, including population and the number of media. The overall number of media is then broken down by type: state, private or community, and by category: radio, press, television or web. One of the most interesting sections tallies media according to editorial tendencies or influences. The divisions are critical, balanced and pro-government.

A new interactive map from IPYS Venezuela compiles information about media around the country and breaks down information by state. (Screenshot courtesy IPYS Venezuela).

The map also features the number of violations of freedom of expression and a link to more detailed information about the state. The links open to a new page that lists each media in the state. Clicking on a name shows its type, category, tendencies, whether it has problems with newsprint, changes in ownership, judicial and administrative proceedings and contact information.

Among the main sources for the project were IPYS Venezuela’s system of alerts and the list of community media from the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information in Venezuela. Additionally, Pennacchio said the team used information from the IPYS-led investigative series “The bosses of censorship in Venezuela” ["Propietarios de la censura en Venezuela"]. For that series, IPYS Venezuela worked with investigative sites Armando.info and Poderopedia to show the lack of transparency in buying and selling processes for media in the country.

More than 20 people, including correspondents from around the country, worked on the map. All data was confirmed through IPYS Venezuela’s database, according to the organization.

IPYS Venezuela invites the public to help with this collaborative project by sending information about media that are not on the map and that want to be added.

Independent news media in Venezuela have faced setbacks due to newsprint shortages, judicial and administrative proceedings against media and journalists and changes in leadership.

In recent years, numerous Venezuelan newspapers cut back their publishing schedules due to decreased availability imported newsprint.

In May, a judge prohibited almost two dozen editors, executives and owners of independent media from leaving the country. They had been accused of defamation by a government official. Regarding this, Reporters Without Borders (RSF for its acronym in French) said: “These judicial proceedings join a long list of intimidation attempts designed to throttle freedom of information."

An example of how buying and selling affects the editorial leanings of a paper, “the once-critical Caracas daily El Universal…cozied up to Venezuela’s socialist government” after its 2014 sale, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported.

Freedom House categorizes the press in Venezuela as not free. The country is ranked 137 out of 180 countries in the RSF 2015 World Press Freedom Index



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