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Access 24 May 2017

Internet Society Deeply Concerned About Internet Blocking in Venezuela

Sebastian Bellagamba
By Sebastian BellagambaRegional Bureau Director for Latin America and The Caribbean

The Internet Society is deeply concerned with the increase of Internet blocking and recent reports of growing content surveillance on the Internet in Venezuela.

On May 13th, Venezuela issued the Presidential Decree no. 2849, which has declared an State of Exception and Emergency, enforced immediately for the period of 60 days, extending a pre existing State of Exception and Emergency in the country.

According to the Official Gazette publication, the purpose of this decree is to adopt urgent, severe, exceptional and needed measures to ensure people’s rights, to preserve the internal order and access to goods, services, food, medicine and other essentials for life.

Among the decree provisions, it authorizes the content filtering and surveillance on the Internet, under the justification that local and international factors are harassing the national economy through the use of ICTs, and the use of cyberspace to promote hate speech and to create distortion of the Venezuelan economy.

This comes after the websites of three Internet TV and streaming news operations were blocked on all major ISPs without court ruling, totaling four news and media sites newly blocked to Venezuelan Internet users in the first four months of 2017. The Venezuela chapter of the Internet Society has publicly shown its concern for the recurrent and excessive use of Internet blocking since 2014, including an open letter to the Telecommunications Regulator issued on April 7.

The Internet is a global, distributed, and decentralized network of networks. We urge all parties involved to uphold the core principles of global interoperability and openness of the Internet.


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Image credit: Andrew Huff on Flickr CC BY NC

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