Venezuela Launches New Integrated Media System

Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas announced the launch of a new state media system on Saturday that will encompass all state and community media outlets.

By Chris Carlson
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Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas (left) and Vice President Nicolás Maduro (right) announced the launch of the new system in Caracas yesterday (AVN / Alexander Gómez)
Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas (left) and Vice President Nicolás Maduro (right) announced the launch of the new system in Caracas yesterday (AVN / Alexander Gómez)

Maracaibo, March 3rd, 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas announced the launch of a new state media system on Saturday that will encompass all state and community media outlets.

According to Villegas, the new media system, called the Bolivarian System of Information and Communications (Sibci) has the purpose of promoting the role of the grassroots as an active player in the government’s communication strategy, with the objective of “combatting the false information that is spread by private media sources.”

This new initiative comes out of a proposal made by Villegas to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to reform the existing state media system, which he claims lacks diversity and popular participation.

President Chavez has also been critical of the state media for not doing an effective job of covering the activities and achievements of his government, and he appointed Villegas as Communications Minister last October in an effort to reform the system.

The new media system is intended to correct some of the flaws of the previous state media system by increasing the participation of grassroots activists and community media.

Villegas described the new system as a “virtuous mix” of activists, community and alternative media, and the officials who direct the state media.

“The reality is in the streets and many times the media doesn’t make it to the streets,” he said.

It is unclear how exactly the new system will work, but Villegas explained that it will be conformed of three different types of “communicational units”, from the level of community media up to those who run the national state media outlets.

These “communicational units” will apparently be in constant contact to carry the news directly to the communities by various means including the use of bulletin boards, megaphones, and community newspapers.

“We aren’t going to just report through the media. The media are important, but they have their limits,” said Villegas.

Villegas explained that the new strategy was aimed at counteracting the private media campaign against the Chavez government, something for which the state has not had an effective solution.

“We used to settle for calling for mandatory television and radio broadcasts, and we thought that the country was being informed of what was happening that way,” he said.

But Villegas said the international media campaign has maintained a systematic campaign to make the revolution’s achievements invisible.

“It is not just the right-wing media in Venezuela, but rather a powerful international alliance of media outlets and transnational corporations, global powers that are systematically ignoring and denying the governance of the Bolivarian government,” he said, assuring that the private media remain very influential among certain sectors of the population.

“We are calling on our country, on all the people to make a communicational revolution, in order to build an extended communication system that will permit the people to speak and be heard. That is the best guarantee that we will have a good, strong democracy,” he said.