Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hugo Chavez bans Internet Content which causes unrest

[JURIST] The National Assembly of Venezuela [official website, in Spanish] on Monday passed the Social Responsibility Law [text, PDF, in Spanish], which bans Internet content that promotes unrest among citizens or challenges legally established authorities. The law expands 2004 restrictions [AFP report] on television, radio and print media to Internet and electronic subscription services content. The National Assembly announced that the law aims to promote Venezuelan values [press release, in Spanish], guarantee freedom of expression and diffuse information that "contributes to the formation of a social conscience" of the population. Media organizations that violate the new measure face increased fines, as well as the possible revocation of media licenses for repeat offenders. The law moved through the unicameral National Assembly in less than a week by the ruling party led by President Hugo Chavez [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Opposition leaders disapprove of the new law, arguing that it restricts freedom of speech and violates constitutionally granted rights.