Venezuela's freedom of expression: worsening each day
BBC NEWS | Americas | Venezuela mulls tough media law
A tough new media law, under which journalists could be imprisoned for publishing “harmful” material, has been proposed in Venezuela.
Journalists could face up to four years in prison for publishing material deemed to harm state stability.
Public prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz, who proposed the changes, said it was necessary to “regulate the freedom of expression” without “harming it”.
The move comes at a time of rising tension over private media regulation.
Under the draft law on media offences, information deemed to be “false” and aimed at “creating a public panic” will also be punishable by prison sentences.
The law will be highly controversial if passed in its current form.
It states that anyone – newspaper editor, reporter or artist – could be sentenced to between six months and four years in prison for information which attacks “the peace, security and independence of the nation and the institutions of the state”.
Chavez denies that he intends to silence critics, saying his government fully respects freedom of expression.
Wow, the irony…
» “Ver televisión es vivir en angustia y en zozobra” en Noticias24.com
The General Prosecutor of the Bolivarian Republic, Luisa Ortega Díaz, denied that she is proposing a “new Law of Political Crimes”, but on the contrary: she is making a proposal to contribute to the present discussion on the National Assembly. She also added that the “abuses of freedom of expression should also be controlled”.
Ortega also commented that “every right should have a limit” and that “rights are not absolute”. She continued saying that, when in the exercise of freedom of expression someone attacks the rights of a group “there should a provision to grant that group the limits to that right”.
“These are just proposals I made, but they are not absolutes, I even included the right of the own workers of the MSM. We should also add the protection of the MSM to report informations“, she added.
“Watching television nowadays is living in anguish. I believe that, as General Prosecutor, we have to regulate this. I believe that freedom of expression mush be in its highest but must be a good freedom”, Ortega maintained.
Related to the Nation’s security and independence, she remarked that the “nation’s security should be above freedom of expression“.
“We must preserve the State, because the State goes beyond all of us and, if for that, we must make laws that regulate the abusive use of freedom of expression, we must do it”, she added. (speaking about fascism…wasn’t this “the socialism of the XXIst century”? Looks much older, doesn’t it?)
Breibart has repoted Ortega’s words too (via Fausta).
PoliGazette comments on this:
those “progressives” who added Chavez to their Castro/Che pantheon of socialist heroes find these reports inconvenient and thus ignore them. But these blatant exposures of the repressive nature of Chavez’ politics is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid.
Yesterday a new electoral law was also passed.
It allows the National Election Council to redraw voting district boundaries.
(…) The president’s opponents say the law is an effort to prevent them from getting a foothold in the National Assembly, and that it would help Mr Chavez’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) in congressional elections due next year.
Tomas Sanchez, one of a dozen deputies to vote against the bill, said he expected it to “change the district lines, mixing up places where the opposition is stronger with places where the PSUV usually wins, and thereby weaken the opposition”.
More comments on the Venezuelan elections law:
CBC Venezuelan election law ignites opposition fears – 3 hrs ago
RTTNews.com Venezuela’s National Assembly Endorses Election Law Reform – Update – 4 hrs ago
Miami Herald Venezuelan regulators pull 34 radio concessions – 6 hrs ago
Canada.com Chavez hits Venezuelan media with new laws – 62 hrs ago
*Fj has more:
Venezuelan regulators revoked the broadcast rights of 34 radio stations on Friday, deepening a rift between President Hugo Chavez’s government and the private media.
Diosdado Cabello, who heads Venezuela’s telecommunications regulatory agency, said some of the stations failed to update their registrations or let their concessions expire, while others held licenses granted to an operator who is now deceased.
Cartoon thanks to Diplodemocracia.
Tags Technorati: Venezuela, Chávez, freedom of expression, criticism on Government, Luisa Ortega Díaz, General Prosecutor of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez,