Venezuela's Chavez calls for internet controls

CARACAS Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:34pm EST

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attends a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas in this February 25, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attends a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas in this February 25, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Jorge Silva

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CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who is criticized by media freedom groups, called on Saturday for regulation of the Internet and singled out a website that he said falsely reported the murder of one of his ministers.

"The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms," Chavez said. He cited German Chancellor Angel Merkel as having expressed a similar sentiment recently.

Chavez is angry with Venezuelan political opinion and gossip website Noticierodigital, which he said had falsely written that Diosdado Cabello, a senior minister and close aide, had been assassinated. The president said the story remained on the site for two days.

"We have to act. We are going to ask the attorney general for help, because this is a crime. I have information that this page periodically publishes stories calling for a coup d'etat. That cannot be permitted."

Social networking web sites like Twitter and Facebook are very popular among Venezuela's opposition movements to organize protests against the government. Chavez has complained that people use such sites to spread unfounded rumors.

Many opponents fear Chavez plans to emulate the government oversight of the Web used by allies Cuba, China and Iran, but the socialist leader has not given any sign that he is planning such a move.

In 2007 Chavez refused to renew the license for television station RCTV, which is now battling to survive as a cable-only operator.

The government has also put pressure on opposition TV network Globovision to soften its editorial line and last year closed dozens of radio stations for administrative breaches.

(Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; writing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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Comments (69)
And this is the guy that Sean Penn, Danny Glover and RFK Jr. thinks is such a great leader. Penn also believes that American journalists who describe Chavez as a dictator should be put in jail.

Mar 13, 2010 11:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jimgnz wrote:
Hugo Chavez lies on a daily basis, can we get some regulation on him?

Mar 14, 2010 12:10am EST  --  Report as abuse
Jebster wrote:

Hugo Chavez caught in a sordid homosexual affair with young teenage boys and an elderly man!!!

(Hey Hugo, kiss by rear end you pathetic piece of fecal matter.)

Mar 14, 2010 12:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
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