Venezuela's New Social Responsibility Law - by Stephen Lendman
On December 20, Venezuela's National Assembly (AN) passed a new Law of Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Digital Media. Contrary to harsh criticism, it doesn't impose censorship. It expands on existing legislation to promote responsible programming, including online. More on it below.
Whatever socially responsible laws the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) led government passes, unfair criticism follows.
On December 20, Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in Residence Joel D. Hirst called it an "attack on freedom of speech," saying:
It "place(s) severe restrictions on the Internet, centralizing access under the control of a government server. They require the airwaves as a 'public good' and set in place harsh penalties for arcane and obtuse violations of the law."
False, like more examples below.
On December 24, New York Times writer Simon Romero (a longtime Chavez critic) headlined, "New Laws in Venezuela Aim to Limit Dissent," saying:
"The National Assembly has approved a sweeping set of laws that impose penalties for spreading political dissent on the Internet," quoting opposition legislator Ismael Garcia calling it "a new dictatorial model."
Despite doing valuable work, Human Rights Watch (HRW) serves wealth and power interests, especially in areas of foreign policy. George Soros and the US State Department were involved in its founding, and its funding is largely corporate, including from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Time Warner, and wealthy private donors.
Notably, HRW failed to denounce the Bush administration's failed 2002 anti-Chavez coup or the successful 2004 one ousting Haiti's Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
It's unsurprising that on December 22, it headlined, "Venezuela: Legislative Assault on Free Speech, Civil Society," saying:
New Venezuelan laws "pose serious threats to free speech and the work of civil society." The new media law "introduce(s) sweeping restrictions on internet traffic, reinforce(s) existing restrictions on radio and television content, and allow(s) the government to terminate broadcasting licenses on arbitrary grounds."
Absolutely false. HRW knows it, and quotes passages from the new law refuting its own claim. More on the new law below.
On December 24, Dow Jones Newswires (Wall Street Journal publisher) headlined, "Flurry of New Laws Strengthens Chavez's Grip on Venezuela," saying:
The new media law "bans the broadcasting of anything that may 'foment anxiety in the public or disturb public order,' which international organizations say could clamp down on free speech....The only thing left is for a new law renaming everyone Hugo."
The corporate funded Committee to Protect Journalists "condemn(ed)" Venezuela's new media law," saying: