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Venezuela: Views and Thoughts on Internet Regulation

Today, the Venezuelan National Assembly will be discussing a reform to the national telecommunications system, which includes the creation of a national Network Access Point, the regulation of all content distributed through the Internet, and the prohibition of several kinds of content (sex, violence, and those which “offend decency”). While Venezuelan politicians remain silent, netizens have expressed their views regarding this bill.

User Frick [es] said in his blog:

El argumento de las voces “justas” o “útiles” como catalizador de quién tiene derecho de tener libertad de expresión y quién no lo tiene no es justificativo de la censura y, de nuevo, no es potestad del estado tomar mis decisiones morales por mí.

The argument of the “fair” or “useful” voices as a catalyst of who has the right to have freedom of expression and who doesn't, is not a justification for censorship and, again, is not the state's power to make my moral decisions for me.

User Lubrio (Luigino Bracci Roa), who identifies himself as a strong supporter of President Chávez, criticized that the law might be also applied to pro-government users [es]:

Alguien me llamará exagerado por suponer que este proyecto de Ley pueda usarse para censurar páginas del proceso revolucionario. El problema es que ciertos órganos del Estado, en sus intentos por parecer “imparciales” y no ser criticados, han acostumbrado imponer sanciones a “ambos bandos” cuando éstas se aplican. Por ejemplo, no me extrañaría que en el futuro Conatel decida bloquear a Noticiero Digital, pero para “parecer imparcial”, decida hacer lo mismo con Aporrea. O que decida sacar del aire a “Aló Ciudadano” por irrespetar a Cilia Flores, pero que, para “parecer imparcial”, decida sacar del aire a “La Hojilla” por irrespetar al alcalde Carlos Ocariz.

Someone might call me exaggerated for assuming that this bill can be used to censor the pages of the revolutionary process. The problem is that certain organs of the State, in its attempts to seem “fair” and not being criticized, have come to impose sanctions on “both sides” when they are applied. For instance, it would not surprise me if in the future Conatel decides to block Noticiero Digital, but in order to “look fair,” it decides to do the same with “Aporrea.” Or that it decides to pull the plug on “Aló Ciudadano” for disrespecting Cilia Flores, but in order to “look fair,” it decides to pull the plug on “The Hojilla” because it disrespects Mayor Carlos Ocariz.

EnigmasPress [es] stated that government officials ignore the mechanisms of Internet:

Estos señores encargados de la reforma – Ley Resorte – censura – Control – Internet en Venezuela ignoran por completo la larga historia de las comunidades electrónicas. Ignoran la herencia de libertad del cyberpunk. Los manifiestos de Internet a nivel mundial y la filosofía y esencia del Zeitgeist y Phatos del mundo digital.

These gentlemen in charge of the reform – Resorte Law – Censorship – Control – Internet in Venezuela completely ignore the long history of electronic communications. They ignore the legacy of freedom of cyberpunk. The Internet manifests in the world and the philosophy and essence of the Zeitgeist and Pathos of the digital world.

On the other hand, LuisCarlos Díaz [es] wrote about the inapplicability of the law, its incongruousness and its lack of coherence:

La reforma de la Ley Resorte que incluye a Internet busca ponerle puertas al campo y darle al Estado-Gobierno potestades de control, monitoreo y sanción que inmediatamente nos pondrán a la cola del continente en materia de libertades para los usuarios. Esto será tan difícil de explicárselo a un extranjero como Cadivi, pero nuestros legisladores creen que Internet es un “canal” con horarios y territorialidad. Creen además que Internet es un espacio que guarda las “buenas costumbres”. Creen que el prestador de servicio de Internet es el que difunde contenidos, y por lo tanto le ofrece multas si no los controla, que es una manera de sacudirse la responsabilidad de la censura.

The reform of the Resorte Law including the Internet, is looking to put gates to the field and give the State-Government powers of control, monitoring and punishment that immediately will put us at the tail of the continent's in matter of user freedom. This will be as difficult to explain to a foreigner as Cadivi, but our legislators believe that the Internet is a “channel” with schedules and territoriality. They also believe that the Internet is a space that keeps the “good manners.” They believe that the Internet service provider is broadcasting content, and therefore they offer fines if he doesn't control it, which is a way to shake off the responsibility for censorship.

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