CARACAS, Venezuela—Yet another country is planning to censor the internet, this time with twist. A bill introduced in the Venezuelan parliament Thursday by Vice President Elias Jaua would, among other things, "prohibit messages [from being sent] that create alarm in the population, ignore public authorities, incite violence and use subliminal messages,” according to Bloomberg.
Inexplicably, however, the bill would also seek to impose time restrictions on adult content available on the internet. Specifically, adult fare would be allowed only after midnight, bringing it in line with TV and radio, according to Reuters. There is no explanation how such a requirement would be applied, because on its face such a time restriction on internet content would be impossible. Apparently, the Venezuelan government believes that the internet is no different than radio and television.
“The bill isn’t intended to restrict internet use, rather to bring the sending and receiving of digital information on servers and digital media in line with rules for television and radio, Manuel Villalba, head of the congressional media commission, said today in an emailed statement from the Information Ministry,” reported Bloomberg.
According to government officials, the new law is not an overreach, especially with respect to the prohibition of messages from citizens that might alarm the population.
“There should just exist protection of citizens' moral and ethical honor," said Manuel Villalba, a lawmaker from President Hugo Chavez's Socialist Party who heads the National Assembly's media commission.
If someone succeeds in flouting that “protection,” Article 29 of the bill allows for a fine of 10 percent of annual income on websites and other providers responsible for transmitting the banned messages.
The bill will be discussed in the congressional media committee before being put to a vote in the assembly.