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Population: 52 million
Internet penetration: 83%
17th June 2024

The Colombian media landscape is vibrant, albeit within a concentrated market. There are three particular challenges: a fall in news consumption, rising concern about the role of artificial intelligence, and the influence of publicly funded advertisements on press independence.

Faced with falling audiences and the increasing difficulty of building direct web traffic, the media in Colombia have welcomed advertising spending from national and local governments. This has brought its own problems, with growing concerns about balance and impartiality, particularly surrounding the regional elections for governors and mayors which took place in October 2023.

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The Foundation for Freedom of the Press reported that official advertising had been used to ‘bind loyalties, silence critics, enhance the image of politicians and violate the most elementary principles of state contracting’. According to the publication National Survey on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, 44% of the 585 journalists, columnists, editors, and other news staff workers surveyed stated that they knew of a local media outlet that had stopped publishing something for fear of losing government advertising and almost half the respondents said they knew of a journalist or media outlet that had changed editorial position for a public advertising contract.

On top of this, the role played by public media has been questioned, with accusations that its state funding is used to defend the governments in power and underplay the views of opposition parties.

Meanwhile, violence and attacks against journalists continue to prevail with the assassination of social leader and citizen journalist Jaime Vásquez by hitmen in the border city of Cucuta.

Overall, things are not looking good for the mainstream media. Consumption of top journalism brands continues to decline, partly due to news avoidance (44%), low levels of trust in the media (34%), online misinformation, and polarisation. The falls seem to be across the board, even for big free-to-air TV news channels like Caracol News, part of the privately owned Grupo Valorem, which saw a dip in its weekly audience in our figures. The channel’s main competitor, RCN News TV, part of Ardila Lülle Organisation, remains in second place, with a quarter of people saying they accessed it at least once a week.

Online news leader reached 25% of weekly users, a drop of 4 percentage points from last year, while remained flat in second place. Online aggregator fell from 22% last year to 18% of weekly news use in 2024 and dropped to fourth place among top brands.

Facebook and X continue to tumble in overall popularity in Colombia and this has had an impact on their use for news. Facebook (48%) remains the most important social media platform to distribute news, but this represents a fall of 10 percentage points compared with last year. Just 12% of respondents said they used X for news, a drop of 6 points from 2023.

This declining engagement contrasts with the continued heavy use of social platforms by Colombian journalists and news organisations, both as a source of news and to set agendas. Most journalistic, academic, economic, and political elites still debate on X, often in confrontational and uncivil ways, and this tone often seems to bleed through into heated debates in the mainstream media itself – arguably making the media seem even more out of touch with ordinary people.

Social media as a source for news has declined in Colombia from 72% in 2022 to 61% in 2024, but TikTok continues to grow. Colombia is one of the top 10 markets in our global survey, with 40% of respondents using the platform for any purpose and 22% saying they used it for news. Short- and long-form video news is an increasingly important way for Colombians to access and consume news, but this increases the challenge for publishers as there are even fewer opportunities to link back to websites and apps.

High hopes for benefits from generative artificial intelligence have become tempered. The industry is bracing itself for disruption as search engines, chatbots, and new browsers are expected to replace some of the functions currently played by media, especially in answering questions or points of fact. Deepfake videos have been distributed on social media impersonating TV anchors and journalists to convey misinformation. At the same time, media companies are looking to use AI to make workflows more efficient. And some, including El Tiempo, El Espectador, and Caracol TV, are using it to find new ways of converting occasional web visitors into regular subscribers.

Víctor García-Perdomo
Director, Research Center for Digital Technology & Society, Universidad de la Sabana, Bogotá, Colombia

Colombia in previous reports: 2023 | 2022 | 2021


Changing media

Colombians in our more urban-based sample get their news more frequently online (including from social media) than from TV or print, which are both losing reach. Facebook remains the most important social network for news but is losing traction, especially with younger people.

Pay for online news



Trust in news overall



Overall trust in the news (34%) remains low by international standards and is down 6 percentage points since 2021. All media brands, with the exception of RCN Radio, also saw their scores fall over the last year. Independent TV and online media Noticias Uno (68%) are among the most trusted news brands surveyed, along with public broadcaster Señal Colombia (63%).

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 49.63

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at

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