President of the Commission on Science, Technology and Social Communication
The President of National Assembly’s Commission on Science, Technology and Social Communication, Manuel Villalba, said on Wednesday, March 17 that the Venezuelan parliament does not plan on formulating any laws, decrees or legislation aimed at controlling or regulating internet access.
Villalba pointed out that the Venezuelan parliament will only investigate a specific case on the news website Noticiero Digital for publishing false information regarding the alleged murders of a member of the executive cabinet and a TV anchor on the state-owned Venezolana de Televisión (VTV).
“The control and regulation of internet use is not an issue to be discussed by this commission, neither is the decision of the National Assembly’s plenary session. Our action is only and exclusively aimed at investigating the website Noticiero Digital,” said the deputy.
Villalba reiterated that during the Tuesday, March 16 plenary session, legislators discussed the importance of the internet within a democratic society. Therefore, the Venezuelan representative considered as “false” the information spread by opposition sectors attempting to distort the work of the National Assembly.
“What we have been proposing is the investigation of certain facts on the internet. These facts, apart from being crimes, represent an inappropriate use of a medium that instead should be at the indisputable service of the development of a society,” explained the deputy.
Furthermore, Villalba noted that the rumors spread by Noticiero Digital are considered crimes that entail penal sanctions, since they violate article 296 of the Venezuelan Penal Code. “This article states that any individual that causes panic or uneasiness within the society, through false information spread by any newspaper, radio, TV, phone, e-mail or pamphlet, will be punished by two to five years in prison,” he said.
In this sense, Villalba said that it was agreed to coordinate actions so Venezuelans are not injured by those internet users who irresponsibly create panic, uneasiness, incite hate, and attempt against the government’s institutions and officials.
Bolivarian News Agency, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. Press and Communications Office / March 18, 2010