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Venezuela: Internet law moves forward, albeit with changes

In a first round of discussion, on December 14th, the Venezuelan National Assembly approved the reform to the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media and differed for today the Law for Telecommunications. However, the texts that were discussed yesterday were different to the ones that were published on the Assembly website, and several points were eliminated, amongst them, the implementation of a national Network Access Point, and the expressions “moral and good customs” appear to have been eliminated.

The final text, which has been leaked through the net, still retains the rule providing that Internet service providers are responsible for all content accessible to its users, and are obliged to have mechanisms in order to restrict those messages prohibited by the law.

It also remains the prohibition of all content that:

1. Inciten y promuevan el odio y la intolerancia por razones religiosas, políticas, por diferencia de género, por racismo o xenofobia.
2. Inciten o promuevan y/o hagan apología al delito.
3. Constituyan propaganda de Guerra.
4. Fomenten zozobra en la ciudadanía o alteren el orden público.
5. Desconozcan a las autoridades legítimamente constituidas.
6. Induzcan al homicidio.
7. Inciten o promuevan el incumplimiento del ordenamiento jurídico vigente.

1. Encourages and promote hatred and intolerance for religious, political, and gender difference, by racism or xenophobia.
2. Incites or promote and/or justify the crime.
3. Constitutes war propaganda.
4. Foster unrest among the citizenship or disturb public order.
5. Refuses to recognize the government's authority.
6. Induces to murder.
7. Incite or promote the violation of existing law.

It has been also clarified that the prohibition of contents regarding explicit sex and violence it's appliable only to radio and television. Also, the prohibition of anonimity and “messages against the Nation's security” remains.

According to the Venezuelan Constitution, in order to have this bill passed the Assembly will have to perform a second reading, which is scheduled for today. The law will enter in rigor the following day to its publication in the National Gazette, as it does not contemplate a vacatio legis.

In Twitter, people are now using the hashtag #SOSInternetVE to protest against this law.

Links:
Venezuela: To second reading the law to regulate Internet [ES]
Text of the bill in Scribd [ES]

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