Added by Nigel Shelbourne on December 11, 2010
A bill presented to parliament on Thursday is said to result in media censorship, say Venezuelan opposition parties.
The proposed bill aims to control the media, including the Internet, and “protect citizens” according to Manuel Villalba, a lawmaker in Hugo Chavez’s ruling Socialist Party.
It wants to apply limits on Internet content much in the same way as they are applied for TV and radio programming.
It also suggests granting the government authority to restrict access to websites that distribute message or information which can be used to “incite violence against the president”. Chavez is known for accusing his opposition of plotting to kill him.
Villalba, also the head of the National Assembly’s media commission, said that although the bill suggests content limits on electronic media, he argued that a restriction of access to the Internet is out of the questions: “There should just exist protection of citizens’ moral and ethical honour,” he said.
However, the government has already been criticised for getting rid of opposition TV and radio channels, and opposition politicians warn that web restrictions can be expected on various social network sites, in a move inspired by Chavez ally Cuba.
Twitter, for instance, is widely used by critics of the president, but at the same time, Chavez has got more than 1 million followers to his @chavezcandanga account.