Pressure is intensifying for Venezuela's government as people continue taking to the streets in some of the country's largest known protests, calling for a recall referendum that will put an end to President Nicolas Maduro's reign. 

Basic commodities have become a rarity, inflation is at an all-time high and crime is also on the rise.

In response, Maduro is tightening the screws on the media yet again. Foreign journalists, local reporters and even drone images were denied access and permissions to cover 'the taking of Caracas' protest march.

He is also encouraging his supporters to take their message online, but the battle to control the cyber narrative is no easier there. 

The whole media landscape is very well-controlled by the government and the journalists have been neutralised.

Jairo Lugo-Ocando, media professor, University of Leeds

"Perhaps he's counting on a big outpouring of support on social media," says John Otis, Andes reporter for NPR who was recently turned back at Caracas airport for the first time in 20 years of covering Venezuela. "But the fact is a lot of the alternative media in Venezuela, that's one of the areas where there has been a new opening for independent media and media that's critical of the government." 

Venezuela's government has a tumultuous history with domestic media. In 2002, former president Hugo Chavez was deposed temporarily as a result of specific local news channels joining forces to call people on to the streets in protest against Chavez. 

Some, like former reporter Luis Jose Marcano, feel this justifies the current crackdown. Marcano is now Venezuela's Minister of Information. 

"Because of the mayhem generated by the demonstrations on September 1, there were media outlets that did not request the correct permission to enter the country, or requested it outside the time frame needed by the government. Like any government, we reserve the right to apply mechanisms like this in the interest of preserving the country's stability," he said. 

Chavez's experience triggered the domino effect that has created the media feud currently blazing in Venezuela. Alongside the pro-government media empire created by Chavez and feulled by Maduro, is a collective that is towing the government line.

"There have been attacks orchestrated by pro-government groups against certain independent media outlets. A journalist might be detained because they are covering an event with no explanation, even if they are eventually freed. They want to make examples of them, so that the rest feel intimidated," says Luz Mely Reyes, cofounder of Efecto Cocuyo, a Venezuelan website dedicated to independent media. 

As hostilities between media camps continue and the economic situation in Venezuela worsens, concerns for the future also rise. 

Source: Al Jazeera