There are big political changes under way in Venezuela. For the first time since late President Hugo Chavez ushered in a socialist revolution 17 years ago, the right-wing opposition is now in control of the national assembly.

It's become a political weapon to prevent independent media from getting newsprint, which has led to publications all over the country being forced out of business just because the government refused to provide them with paper.

Tomas Guanipa, Committee of People's Power & the Media

That would be front-page news in Caracas - but there is a shortage of paper on which to print it.

This week, 86 newspapers announced they were out of stock and wouldn't be printing news.

Most Venezuelan newspapers used to receive steady supplies of newsprint from abroad. But for over a year, the Maduro government has centralised all paper imports and is in control of the distribution of newsprint - a monopoly the opposition calls a form of media censorship.

In Chavez's day, the media turned into an ideological battleground. The bulk of media outlets were owned by conservatives, long part of Venezuela's ruling elite, and their hostility towards Chavez was plain for all to see.

Chavez made changes on the broadcast side - both regulatory and related to ownership - and Maduro has continued that trend with print outlets.

But one thing the new president cannot change is himself. He lacks Chavez's charisma and he is just not as media-savvy as his predecessor. 

The Listening Post's Marcela Pizarro reports on the politics and economics of Venezuelan news media.

Source: Al Jazeera