Today we get the news that the Government wants to extend the so called “Muzzle Law” to the Internet. While some have reported this as a “rumor”, this is not simply a rumor as this document clearly shows. It is a proposal made to the Venezuelan Vice-President Elias Jaua by the country’s telecom commission CONATEL and aims to:
“Have the State protect collective interests, particularly those of kids and adolescents, as receptors of messages via…electronic media, through resounding measures that would allow the control by these actors for the effective compliance with the laws”
later the document adds:
“Inclusion of electronic media as part of the Law; Due to the fact that this service has turned, thanks to the policies of the Bolivarian Government, in one of the main forms of communication which are received by the collective in general. basically without regulation in terms of content, which requires that the Government insure that it may be “apt” especially to kids and adolescents, because currently content is transmitted with apologies for crime which attempt against the peace, security and citizen education, it is necessary to establish responsibilities for those that issue these measures, because of the consequences it may have, as well as the adoption of immediate measures that allow for the withdrawal of such content”
Of course, this is nothing new, it just formalizes the intent of the Government to penalize the use of the Internet in any way it wants, punishing those responsible and forcing for the withdrawal of such messages.
The content is clear, while it aims at protecting kids and young people, making it sound as if the Government wants to control inapropiate content, it later includes messages that attempt against the peace and security as well as theeducation of citizens. i.e, anything the Government finds offensive.
Of course, to enforce these laws, the Government will have to be able to block content coming from abroad, since it will not be able to to force “the withdrawal of such content” and give way to all sorts of controls by the Government over the Internet.
This is simply an extension and formalization of previous actions, as offensive tweets by Venezuelan twitters have already been persecuted, showing clearly that the Government can pinpoint who and where tweets using cell phones originate (All cases so far have been those associated with cellphones, no land lines). Thus, this would become a more formal excuse to block sites, content and scare and persecute and prosecute content depending on Chavez’ whims.
Nothing new, just more of the same. Less democracy, more censorship, more totalitarianism by a Government that believes only in that and has a total disregard for people’s rights and democracy.