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Reform of Social Responsibility Law Prioritizes National Content

Manuel Villalba, the president of the National Assembly’s Commission on Science, Technology and Media, stated on Tuesday that the reform to the Law of Social Responsibility in TV and Radio proposed by Venezuela’s executive branch seeks to prioritize nationally produced content across all audio-visual media.

During an interview on a privately-held television station, Villalba explained that the reform of the law would expand employment opportunities in the sector.

“This reform proposes novel changes that would allow us to prioritize various sectors throughout the country, notable the national audio-visual production sector. In the specific case of soap operas on TV and radio, the reform proposes that 50 percent of programs of this sort broadcast my media outlets be produced nationally. Those outlets that fulfill this requirement would face a 0.5 percent decrease in fees that they have to pay,” he stated.

Villalba insisted that opposition sectors have launched a campaign attacking the proposed reforms to the Law of Social Responsibility in TV and Radio and the Organic Law of Telecommunications. He denied that the changes would eliminate the broadcasting of sporting, cultural or informative programs and that they would discriminate against privately held media outlets.

“How can an institution like the National Assembly going to go after the media? We legislate in the interests of developing the country. We think these reforms allow for inclusion,” he stated.

With regards with proposed reforms that would affect Internet use, Villalba specified that the changes would not block social networks like Twitter and Facebook, nor would it block search engines or impose preemptive censorship.

“We’re seeking to regulate the Internet so that there is adequate and good use of electronic media. It cannot be that anyone applies elements contrary to that which is established in Venezuelan law. We are expanding the purposes of the law to electronic media; if a blog publishes a call for assassination, that person must be held responsible, just the same as the person who administers the page since they’re supposed to making good use of that outlet.”

AVN/Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S./December 14, 2010

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