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Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the learning-from-china's-fine-example dept.

Censorship 452

terets1 writes "Reuters reports that Venezuela's leader, Hugo Chavez, issued a call on Saturday for 'internet controls' to prevent rumors and inaccurate reporting from spreading. He specifically cited a case in which a website incorrectly reported that a senior minister had been assassinated and kept the story up for two days. Many of Venezuela's opposition movements use social networking sites to communicate. It is not apparent at this time exactly what kind of controls Chavez has in mind or whether those controls will be similar to the controls in Iran that have been used to silence opposition movements. Chavez said, 'The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms.'"

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The same kind of policies... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472310)

Coming soon to Obamaland!

Not insightful (0, Troll)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472342)

Who modded this insightful? I guess they are tired, it is a bit early on a Sunday morning.

Re:Not insightful (2, Insightful)

Montezumaa (1674080) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472436)

You think that just because you do not find what the first poster to be insightful, that it is not insightful? While I feel that Obama does not have the backbone to try and impose censorship on the United States, I am sure we will see some type of oppressive censorship in the relatively near future. Anyone that does not believe this probably is not paying attention to who is in control of the various governments within the United States.

Regardless, you do not speak for everyone that visits this site. Those who modded the post as "Insightful" probably read the post and marked it as such because they feel it is insightful.

Re:Not insightful (1, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472562)

I am sure we will see some type of oppressive censorship in the relatively near future. Anyone that does not believe this probably is not paying attention to who is in control of the various governments within the United States.

That's crap. The US government is the de facto definition of gridlock, ineffectiveness and partisan pettiness. They wouldn't even agree on a bill to give themselves the winning lottery numbers without bickering, squabbling and turning it into a pissing match. And then they'd anonymously block it, filibuster it and shit can it. If there's one thing the lot of them are missing these days is purpose.

Re:Not insightful (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472696)

I am sure we will see some type of oppressive censorship in the relatively near future. Anyone that does not believe this probably is not paying attention to who is in control of the various governments within the United States.

That's crap. The US government is the de facto definition of gridlock, ineffectiveness and partisan pettiness. They wouldn't even agree on a bill to give themselves the winning lottery numbers without bickering, squabbling and turning it into a pissing match. And then they'd anonymously block it, filibuster it and shit can it. If there's one thing the lot of them are missing these days is purpose.

There's only one true political division in the United States: the old-money families and the powerful elite they represent (that represents them, actually, as the truly powerful don't like the limelight) and ordinary Americans. All other divisions are artificial creations of the media, by-products of the either-or way in which everything is presented. Left/right and Democrat/Republican are like this. The Democrats and the Republicans are two factions of a single party, the Statist Party.

There's one thing they all agree on: the government's size, power, and involvement in the daily life of citizens should be continuously expanded, with no regard for merit, necessity, or the reduction in quality of life that this will cause. Right now USA citizens enjoy relatively free access to the Internet. To the power-hungry, however, that just means this is a growth area for government. Unfortunately that's purpose enough for them. There is very much of a "because we can" mentality operating here that is not terribly concerned about immediate goals except that they make good excuses which are hard to politically oppose, such as "to stop terrorism" or "to protect the children".

So, there might be "partisan pettiness" concerning the question of what to do with an overwhelming ability to censor the Internet. But there will be no such pettiness when it comes to whether or not our politicians would like to have this ability.

Re:Not insightful (0, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472728)

"Those who modded the post as "Insightful" probably read the post and marked it as such because they feel it is insightful."

Or, some of the right wing crazies had a few mod points. Bashing Obama is today's most popular conservative sport.

Now, if someone were to make an "insightful" post regarding US politics and censorship, they would have to include a few observations about Bush's Un-patriotic act, and the fact that Bush was all in favor of the ACTA treaty. Unfortunately, Obama also seems to favor that idiotic treaty which will subject governments around the world to corporate dictates.

All I see in the original post, is Obama bashing, no insight whatsoever.

Sure it is. (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472466)

Well, I was going to mod it insightful but I'll respond to you instead.

FTS:

It is not apparent at this time exactly what kind of controls Chavez has in mind...

So it's hard to know exactly what we're talking about here, but some parallels exist. Fortunately, President Obama actually opposes (last I heard) the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," but Representative Pelosi does support it. And also consider this bill [govtrack.us] , which proposes to

...impose criminal penalties on anyone who transmits in interstate or foreign commerce a communication intended to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to another person...

Never mind the existence of tort law (IIED, NIED) that already covers these areas, let's throw people in jail for a couple years! Of course prosecutors will only use this law for good purposes, never for politically-motivated legal harassment, right? Actually I'm regularly surprised by the new ways prosecutors find to stretch words like "harassment" to prevent individuals from participating in government. And they're happy to justify themselves by dusting off the old chestnut about catching Al Capone for tax evasion.

Chavez is a dictator and obviously we should be concerned that he's making a play like this. But just because we sugar-coat it and remind people to "think of the children" by naming our bills after high-profile tragedies doesn't mean our American politicians are any less interested in controlling the flow of information, at least as far as we'll let them get away with it.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Re:Sure it is. (1)

ControversialMatt (1070718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472766)

Chavez is a dictator[snip]

Don't let Sean Penn hear you say that!

Re:The same kind of policies... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472368)

Coming soon to Obamaland!

Americans seriously need to get over their "it can't happen here" mentality. That mentality only means it will happen more slowly, with smaller and more calculated steps instead of a few sudden movements like this one. We already have a government that can monitor everything you say, including non-public correspondence where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You think outright censorship is very far away?

Re:The same kind of policies... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472476)

sudden movements like this one.

FTFA: "but the socialist leader has not given any sign that he is planning such a move."

Re:The same kind of policies... (3, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472512)

We don't know that the Sun is going to rise above the horizon tomorrow but history shows us there is a pretty good chance it is going to happen.

Re:The same kind of policies... (2, Insightful)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472812)

We don't know that the Sun is going to rise above the horizon tomorrow

Apparently you don't know about the laws of motion and conservation of angular momentum.

Re:The same kind of policies... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472482)

"You think outright censorship is very far away?"

Actually, yes, it is. It's blatantly unconstitutional, and the First Amendment isn't going to go anywhere. You don't need to get over an "it can't happen here" mentality, you need to get over your baseless paranoia.

Nope, can't happen here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472756)

Yeah, like that scare where some court says that cities can take private property in eminent domain and give it to other private entities for an enhancement in property tax. That could never happen here....

Re:The same kind of policies... (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472822)

"You think outright censorship is very far away?"

Actually, yes, it is. It's blatantly unconstitutional, and the First Amendment isn't going to go anywhere. You don't need to get over an "it can't happen here" mentality, you need to get over your baseless paranoia.

Three words for you: free speech zones. If you're not familiar with the logic behind them, please look it up. In a nutshell, the (bullshit) "logic" is that the FIrst Amendment guarantees free speech, but does not specify where that right may be exercised. Any reasonable person would conclude that the Constitution does not list specific locations because it applies everywhere in the USA, but that doesn't suit the authoritarian mentality. So now they can tell you that you may not practice free speech where any decision-makers are likely to hear you, right here in the USA.

The dangers of that path, of allowing such flimsy and easily-abused exceptions to what are supposed to be inalienable rights, are both extreme and seldom appreciated. It is not the right way; it is not a good path. It also sets a precedent.

So, they already get around that pesky Constitution when it comes to physical protests. The only real surprise will be if they don't find such clever ways to skirt the First Amendment when it comes to the Internet. That's the mentality you're dealing with here. It will because it can, and any excuse will do.

Calling it "baseless paranoia" suggests that it's impossible or extremely unlikely, that nothing like this has ever happened before, that there's no reason not to trust our federal government. It's neither "baseless" nor is it "paranoia" if you actually take a look at the direction in which this country has been heading. Of course, that will require that when you see a spade, you call it a spade. Some people have a much easier time with this than others. Obviously others prefer to bury their heads in the sand and label as "paranoid" anyone who makes that a little less comfortable.

Re:The same kind of policies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472582)

on the other hand, americans need to get over their paranoid 'it will happen here' mentality as well. we may be a nation of morons, but we're not that weak of a society. we're not going to come up with these kind of national standards for discourse on the internet, the right-wing 'obama as communist boogyman' stereotype nonwithstanding.

Re:The same kind of policies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472702)

Coming soon to Obamaland!

Americans seriously need to get over their "it can't happen here" mentality. That mentality only means it will happen more slowly, with smaller and more calculated steps instead of a few sudden movements like this one. We already have a government that can monitor everything you say, including non-public correspondence where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You think outright censorship is very far away?

Coming soon to Obamaland!

Americans seriously need to get over their "it can't happen here" mentality. That mentality only means it will happen more slowly, with smaller and more calculated steps instead of a few sudden movements like this one. We already have a government that can monitor everything you say, including non-public correspondence where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You think outright censorship is very far away?

1ST AMMENDMENDT OVERRULES ALL.

Re:The same kind of policies... (2, Interesting)

ldconfig (1339877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472760)

Cameras on street corners - ISP's spying on customers for the MPAA/RIAA - Law enforcement backdoors - Games that won't play in single player mode without 'calling home' - Warrant less wire taps - Torture - Cell phone co. law enforcement websites that give instant access to GPS data - Government tracking cookies and malware - Forced to 'show your papers' to travel - Almost daily videos of police beatings - Sick people jailed for medical cannabis - Full body scanners - For profit jails (and judges) - DMCA - EULA's - DCI byte (broadcast flag) - Private for profit armies - IP enforcement disguised as cyber security - Drug tests - Rigged media ... I can go on lol Pot meet kettle

Re:The same kind of policies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472844)

Agreed. It's happening this week with the health care bill.

Re:The same kind of policies... (0, Offtopic)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472474)

Obama's a noob [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:The same kind of policies... (0, Troll)

Alpha Prime (25709) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472484)

Coming soon to Obamaland!

That's pure and utter bullshit! You've been listening to Faux News too much! Try listening to real news sources, not the Republican Propaganda Machine that is Faux News.

Re:The same kind of policies... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472620)

How cute. "Faux News." I bet you think CNN and MSNBC are giving you the "real" stories all the time. I also bet that you base your opinions of "Faux News" on a few OPINION shows as well, right? I love how the liberal losers of America allow themselves to be deluded by the liberal, left-wing nutjob "news" organizations which helped elect Obama and ensure that their country would be tossed into complete and total financial ruin! Yay for you!

Re:The same kind of policies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472762)

If you think CNN or MSNBC approach even a fraction of the dishonesty of Fox News, you really have drunk the Flavor-Aid. Fox News pumps out lies day and night.

Re:The same kind of policies... (1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472772)

Anyone would be an utter moron, if he were to trust any single news source. An intelligent person will read as many different sources as he can find the time to read, and compare & evaluate what he reads.

Faux news exists for the convenience of the conservative utter morons.

Re:The same kind of policies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472552)

What's the problem with this here at slashdot??? a good 60-70% here at slashdot would vote for Chavez given their stated political opinions. Oh, I get it. Now that he is attacking freedom of technology, as opposed to freedom of the press, freedom to conduct business, freedom to have your vote count equally - NOW it's an issue. They are all tied together and you're on the wrong side (apologies to those here who aren't knee jerk socialists).

Re:The same kind of policies... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472632)

Wow - what is this, Fark?

Chavez is a dictator - what he is doing surprises no one.

People should not dismiss the possibility of this happening here - under any kind of administration - democrat or republican - and should make sure they speak up early and often.

Re:The same kind of policies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472674)

It has already happend to Sarkoland

Way to go (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472322)

I guess Chavez has decided to follow the same path that every other communist leader has followed? "We cannot allow openness if it means people will disagree with me."

Re:Way to go (4, Informative)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472344)

You must be new... to Venezula.

They used to have private TV broadcasters you know...

Re:Way to go (1, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472362)

You must be new...to America. Private broadcasting does not mean openness or lack of censorship (*cough* drugs). Neither does public broadcasting imply censorship.

Re:Way to go (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472464)

You must be.... an obfuscating apologist for communist dicators. Chavez dealt with one TV station by his local governor ordering that a community football ground should be placed on the exact same spot as... the headquarters of the TV station. Think of the children!

This was some time ago. Reference will be dug up if you deny that it's true.

Re:Way to go (0, Troll)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472836)

Since the summary and TFA don't seem to mention this little tipbit:

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&langpair=es [google.com] |en&u=http://www.noticierodigital.com/&prev=/translate_s%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3DNoticierodigital%26sl%3Den%26tl%3Des

On the evening of Saturday, the President of the Republic Hugo Chávez has asked the Attorney General's Office and the Minister Diosdado Cabello take legal action against this site by false rumors posted two new forumers in one of our forums and concerned the alleged murder of two ombudsmen linked to the Government.

Yes.
Chavez wants this site shut down and the internet controlled because of some rumour posts on the sites forum by some randomers.

Can't we all just accept that he's evil yet?

Re:Way to go (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472374)

You must be new... to Venezula.

They used to have private TV broadcasters you know...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Venezuelan_television_channels [wikipedia.org]

"Used to", huh?

Re:Way to go (-1, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472392)

Yes, used to, you google illiterate fuck: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/17/AR2007011702003.html [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Way to go (0, Troll)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472442)

Yes, used to, you google illiterate fuck

Read the list I linked to, you stupid, stupid fuck: ONE of the TV stations did not get its license renewed, and you infer from that that all private TV stations have closed! How fucking long were you denied oxygen at birth? How many drops on your head did it take to make you hold on to that retarded conclusion after being provided facts correcting your idiotic belief?

Re:Way to go (5, Interesting)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472518)

I'd like to note that the one tv station that was closed was one of two which openly expressed opposite opinions to the government. The other one is on the verge of not having its licence renewed. It's not a belief: It's a fact. THe rest of the tv stations are simply silent to Chavez abuse of power. Regardless of your opinion, the abuse of power is a fact, whether you think it's for a good or a bad thing. He also closed down several radio stations out of the weird justification that they were all part of a large network. The thing to learn in Venezuela is that you can't really be too successful.

Re:Way to go (2, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472628)

I'd like to note that the one tv station that was closed was one of two which openly expressed opposite opinions to the government.

Opposed only to the democratically elected government: When there was a coup, and Chavez was kidnapped, that station said he had resigned. When a million people took to the streets, waving copies of their constitution saying that the president can't be removed like that, that TV station said that the streets were quiet and the people were happy of the change of government.

So when it came time for their license to be renewed, years later, they were denied. They didn't close down, they're still on cable, and on youTube, and they had public viewings in parks on giant screens. But they didn't get their license renewed after openly supporting an unconstitutional coup.
And people say "OMG Chavez is a dictator that closed down all the private TV stations!!!!", because that's the way the propaganda in their country wants them to think. *sigh*

Re:Way to go (4, Informative)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472682)

Wait, wait, were you here when the coup happened? Because I could speak at lenghts about all that happened there, including Chavez taking up on a national forced broadcast - which happens bassically every damn day - and when it ended, a bunch of people - including journalists - had been shot by snipers. RCTV has been denied all casting on Venezuela, this is a fact. Even when the earthquake on Chile, the national broadcast by the president was an *optional* lending of space by the private TV stations. Here, it's forced and a daily thing for as much as Chavez saying he's pissed off at the internet. RCTV decided they weren't going to take it, and they were denied of the licence. Now they are applying that to every TV station, including cable tv, which is an entirely new thing. Now he wants to do the same to the internet. Either you are with him, or, apparently, you have to remain silent. If it isn't something intrinsically linked to a dictatorship, well, something is wrong with the world.

Re:Way to go (1, Troll)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472740)

Wait, wait, were you here when the coup happened?

Nope, saw the documentary filmed by those who were there, and then went and read every bit of old news I could find on the subject. Then I read up on the recent history of Venezuela, read up amnesty international reports from before and after the Chavez era. You know, good ol' book learning, 21st century style.

Now, the rest of you comment was incoherent, care to try it again?

Re:Way to go (1, Informative)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472764)

Well, I *was* there. There you go!

Re:Way to go (1, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472780)

I don't think you're going to be able to argument with this brainwashed nutjob.

Re:Way to go (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472816)

Was that "Brainwashed nutjob" directed at me, or at Scrameustache? It's not clear.

Re:Way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472834)

Be careful. Don't let facts get in the way of the leftist propaganda :)

BTW, wtf is up with the people that had Chavez in custody? Next time someone needs to step up and put a bullet in his head.

OMFG the commists again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472354)

This one would be credible if the non-communist countries weren't doing it.
But they are: latest is New Zealand. So meh. Welcome to the club, I guess :-(

Re:Way to go (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472386)

He should get on the phone to companies like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo if he wants to speak with people who have a proven track record in preventing people from expressing their opinions.

Re:Way to go (2, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472480)

If you had read Reuter's report you would know that Chavez' complain was due to a website posting an completely made up and unfounded news report that a senior minister and close aidee to Chavez was assassinated. That website knowingly reported that news and kept the report on it's site for days, although it was blatantly false. This news report covers Chavez' reaction to that, in which he criticizes the spread of false, made up information. He doesn't criticize openness.

The thing is, I bet your country doesn't allow absolute freedom of speech. If you live in a civilized country then your legal system will certainly have laws which are intended to punish multiple forms of defamation. Oddly enough, if you happened to read Reuter's report you would know that that's exactly what Chavez is defending here. So exactly where do you base yourself to accuse Chavez of wanting to fight openness?

Re:Way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472502)

Except that "openness" doesn't mean that you're allowed to spread lies and deliberate misinformation, and doing so isn't a legitimate way of expressing your disagreement with someone. But I suppose you just couldn't stop yourself when you had the opportunity to rant a bit about teh evilz commies.

Re:Way to go (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472558)

Chavez censors his media. The Americans take a more direct approach [videoactivism.org] .. in other peoples' countries no less. While back home they obsess over Janet's titties..

Re:Way to go (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472568)

I guess Chavez has decided to follow the same path that every other communist leader has followed? "We cannot allow openness if it means people will disagree with me."

While Communism encourages this behavior, it does not hold a monopoly on it. Plenty of non-Communists in businesses and governments everywhere are this way. Remember that corporations are essentially dictatorships and that the type of politician who "knows what's good for you" does not ask whether you agree. Even "because I said so" parents and teachers exhibit this behavior (and condition people to accept it from a young age).

The inability to handle dissent is just an essential feature of the authoritarian mentality. I think it's caused by both an inability to lead by example (i.e. hypocrisy) and a profound personal insecurity that makes the person feel they need to be "right" no matter what. That's why anyone who offers dissent, however well-founded, is seen as an enemy and must be shut down. Nowhere in this do you find an awareness of the person's fallibility or an ability to feel gratitude towards those who help them shed false ideas. Their overinflated egos won't allow that. That's why it never occurs to these people that truly sound policies and truly good actions have nothing to fear from scrutiny.

It's also more evidence that Frank Herbert was right when he said: "All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted."

A Wacky Communist Leader (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472642)

Chavez is more that just a communist leader. He's wacky as well. Sort of the Kim Il Jong of South America.

Fidel Castro was suppressive, but not really wacky.

Chavez called for a ban on video games, and that children should play with tradition toys, like yo-yo's.

Now, that is not just suppressive, that is just plain wacky.

A yo-yo? Yes, Mr. Chavez, it takes one to know one.

But I guess there are a more than a few North American politicians who have the same idea as well.

Re:Way to go (0)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472668)

"I guess Chavez has decided to follow the same path that every other communist leader has followed? "We cannot allow openness if it means people will disagree with me."

Except the same thing happens in USA and canada, news sites tend not to want to tick off their friends and the people that pay their bills. It's the same thing in the end, Wikileaks has leaked more stuff in small time being around then all the big major newspapers combined over 30 years, you do know that right?

Re:Way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472714)

I really don't know about Venezuela, but if is anything like Brazil (and I think it is), the media routlnely spreads slanders, defamations and plain lies about the Lula administration, while protecting the opposing politicians.

And because Lula (and the party he's a member of) follows the law, which is sloooooow, there's scantly anything they can do to the media conglomerates. You have to see it to believe it.

And the "communist" thing is just crap.

A Dictator Stifles The Press? (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472328)

This isn't shocking. In fact, I'm surprised it took him this long. Maybe someone should give Mr Chavez China's number so he can get some first hand tips on how to handle this.

Not according to Sean Penn (2, Interesting)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472400)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/11/sean-penn-hugo-chavez-venezuela [guardian.co.uk]

Wonder who is classified a dictator in his mind...

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472448)

Sean Penn is an actor. He is acting like a douche bag. He is acting like a fuck'tard. He is acting like himself.

Maybe Chavez got the idea to jail journalists from Penn. Maybe they worked on the idea together. Maybe we can get the USPS to forward his mail to Venezuela. Let's see what Herr Hugo thinks of Señor Sean after he reads his mail.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (0, Troll)

nodd (1704580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472566)

Excuse me, but why should defamation not be punishable? What he said is,

"Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media. There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies."

And there is, you can go to jail [wikipedia.org] for these false accusations. But of course, it's much more eye-catching using a title like "Sean Penn: Journalists who call Hugo Chávez a dictator should be jailed" than writing the actual quote.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

nodd (1704580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472486)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/11/sean-penn-hugo-chavez-venezuela [guardian.co.uk]

Wonder who is classified a dictator in his mind...

I actually wonder the same thing about your mind. How is a person democratically elected... a dictator? Do you even know what a dictatorship is?

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472550)

You really need to read more about Venezuela's recent history. We call it a dictatorship due to the fact that there is no imput from anyone's who's not allied with Chavez on ANY decision taken.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1, Insightful)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472602)

not listening to input from people that aren't part of your circle of 'true believers' isn't dictatorship. hell, that describes the bush administration.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472626)

That I think is called autocracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocracy). Dunno how to post links.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

nodd (1704580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472646)

That's just not true. Chávez' party got 60% of the votes in the last parliamentary elections, meaning he has majority and hence can make the decisions he wants, as long as his party agrees with him. There are other parties, but it's not Chávez' problem if they only got 8% of the votes.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472722)

An election voted by around 20 or 30% of the total voters.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472828)

Which is slightly less, but not that much less, than turnout in the USA.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (4, Insightful)

ralx (1660641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472564)

A dictatorship is a president (elected or not) that takes control of all public powers, change the constitution and laws to adapt them for his own plans and then kill every corner of freedom (slow or fast) to the point that there's no real opposition in the country, that massive media is cornered or adapted to please him and since he adapted laws for him to create the possibility of infinite reelections then he could stay on power for decades.... That's Hugo Chavez.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

nodd (1704580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472608)

You do know that you cannot change the constitution just like that, right? If it has been changed so that he can be reelected infinitely, it's because the people of Venezuela voted for it.

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

ralx (1660641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472684)

Having already lost a referendum to change more than 20 articles, he issued a second one (many lawyers considered it illegal) only to modify the paragraph about presidential reelections and discarding all the others, so after two attempts he won that right... Not mentioning that every polling all resources of the country are used to favor government because there are no public institutions that oppose any of Chavez decisions... Even worse Presiden of the Supreme Court of Justice has recently stated that the state shouldn't have separations of powers because that weakens the government, so all powers should work like only one following president's decisions.....

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472710)

*cough* many of the thing he asked on the referendum were anyway implemented by some sort of law to give him powers to issue new laws without even asking *cough* Search for "El Paquetazo de Chavez"

Re:Not according to Sean Penn (1, Troll)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472678)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/11/sean-penn-hugo-chavez-venezuela [guardian.co.uk]

Wonder who is classified a dictator in his mind...

Since I don't think Chavez is a dictator, and I can't speak for Penn, let me show you an example of someone I think of as a dictator.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pervez_Musharraf#Emergency_declared_in_Pakistan [wikipedia.org]
Emergency declared in Pakistan
On 3 November 2007 Musharraf declared emergency rule across Pakistan. He suspended the Constitution, imposed State of Emergency, and fired the chief justice of the Supreme Court.[87] While addressing the nation on State Television, Musharraf declared that the state of emergency was imposed in the country. In Islamabad, troops entered the Supreme Court building, arrested the judges and kept them under detention in their homes. Troops were deployed inside state-run TV and radio stations, while independent channels went off air.

Bush More Emphatic In Backing Musharraf [washingtonpost.com]
President Bush yesterday offered his strongest support of embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying the general "hasn't crossed the line" and "truly is somebody who believes in democracy."
Bush spoke nearly three weeks after Musharraf declared emergency rule, sacked members of the Supreme Court and began a roundup of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists.

Re:A Dictator Stifles The Press? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472498)

This isn't shocking. In fact, I'm surprised it took him this long.

Keep holding your breath: "but the socialist leader has not given any sign that he is planning such a move." -TFA

It's as though the headline was somehow giving an impression that something more sensational is happening... Shocking!

Re:A Dictator Stifles The Press? (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472526)

I'm surprised it took him this long.

This is precisely what happened to Venezuelan opposition. They cried wolf from at first signs of his intentions, and it didn't happen right away. That cost them a LOT of credibility, and the metaphorical frog did nothing as it felt the water warming up around it.

Re:A Dictator Stifles The Press? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472540)

I don't get it. A website falsely claims that a government minister was assassinated and keeps posting it for days. So when Chavez complains that that particular website shouldn't be allowed to falsely claim that a minister was killed then Chavez is suddenly a dictator? Where exactly do you base that conclusion on?

Re:A Dictator Stifles The Press? (2, Informative)

ralx (1660641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472594)

He didn't simply complain, he called to control what can be seen or written on internet. Actually Venezuelan government has been already working on a single point of access to Internet under a "better performance" false claim.

Re:A Dictator Stifles The Press? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472852)

I don't get it. Chavez complained about defamation campaigns and even rally calls to execute yet another coup d'etat on Chavez. He complained that that sort of actions are illegal and therefore shouldn't be allowed to happen. Where exactly did you started reading and where exactly did you base yourself to claim that what he wants is "control" the media?

Re:A Dictator Stifles The Press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472664)

It was not a "website" was a forum like Slashdot for politics topics in venezuela.. imagine you!!

Re:A Dictator Stifles The Press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472712)

Compared to all the South American right wing dictators that had USA's number?

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472352)

How is that different to the legislation in Spain for example, there are things you can't say in print and Internet is no different. A lie is a lie, no matter were you publish it.

Re:So what? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472462)

He's trying to silence his opposition. The truth is not a lie just because El Hefe says it is. And when he's in charge of everything, anything he doesn't like is a lie.

Prior art (5, Funny)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472370)

This shows how intellectually bankrupt Chavez is ... stealing this idea from the Australian government. Next he will be stealing from America and giving billions in untraceable loans to mismanaged corporations.

Re:Prior art (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472458)

It is weird the U.S. is a lot of things, but we probably have some of the most open speech amongst many developed countries.

On those untraceable loans, we all know where those went - just follow the political contributions.

I just think it's really sad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472384)

The first reaction to news like this -- rated up twice in a minute, mind you -- is to look at this issue through a hyperpartisan lens.

The desire to curtail freedom on the Internet comes not from the right or the left, but the powerful. Anybody with a computer can have a voice, and as with the copyright industries there is a wish to turn back the hands of time rather than to adjust to the new reality, progress be damned.

It's time to shed partisanship and take a very real look at the role the Internet should play in our society. To do otherwise is to let one "side" or the other continue to erode a unique and precious part of our lives forever; once lost, what we currently enjoy with the Internet will never be returned.

Re:I just think it's really sad (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472422)

FYI I skipped your post because of the stupid megafont style.

Re:I just think it's really sad (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472494)

At least it wasn't in all italics this time. Oy carumba. If the AC wants to heard so badly he/she can always sign in and put some backbone where his/her font size is.

Press freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472402)

Something we support for those countries where the press votes mostly to the left!

Sincerely

- The Left

captcha: 'pinkish'

"Issued a call" vs. "Chavez to limit" (1)

dragisha (788) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472424)

But, of course, it's slashdot reporting here :).

In other news, once he decides to censor his citizens, friendly US companies will jump in with solutions... As they did for China and Iran.

Why democracies do not limit such kind of products being made and sold? Don't talk freedom here - chemical/biological agents are limited already and it's good they are.

Re:"Issued a call" vs. "Chavez to limit" (1)

ralx (1660641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472640)

Issued a call in Chavez words means that every person in the government will dedicate all his hours of work on making it happen, and if you don't then you'll be fired and banished of the government because you're a traitor... 11 years having to see people "correcting" whatever comes from Venezuela, and even now that Chavez is more transparent on his intentions than ever it's sad to continue seeing people doing the same thing....... "correcting" news.....

Permanent Intarweb Bolivarian Revolution! (1, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472434)

Hugo Chavez has promised to speed up "the construction of true socialism" in Venezuela now that he can stand for re-election indefinitely. "We have exploded the barriers to a permanent socialist revolution [newstechnica.com] ."

Chavez has already taken control of the country's vast oil wealth, expropriated private landholdings and businesses and instituted a programme of deep social reforms. He has attacked the "distribution of wealth" problem by destroying as much of it as possible. After Chávez promised to nationalise the biggest power and phone companies, the Caracas Stock Exchange closed nearly 20% down, Electricidad de Caracas fell 25% and CA Nacional Telefonos was suspended from trading. The Venezuelan Bolivar has been replaced in common use with twigs and small rocks, which suddenly have much greater practical exchange value.

Chavez next wants to merge all his coalition partners into a single party, remove the opposition television channel, monitor the Internet "appropriately," nationalise key businesses and rule by decree for a year. However, construction of a one-hundred-metre tall gold statue of himself in the Caracas city square that turns to follow the sun will be delayed until next year, and renaming the days of the week and months of the year after himself and his mother can wait until the year after.

Chavez' good friend Fidel Castro expressed his confidence that Chavez was in no danger from the US. "This is the CIA we're talking about," said Castro. "They could fuck up a wet dream. Hey, maybe they'll try the exploding cigar trick again. That's a good one."

this is clearly a call for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472472)

A "President for Life" google bomb.

Chavez also suggest to take shower only 3 minutes. (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472492)

Chavez also suggest to take shower only 3 minutes to save water. I tried that, but I guess I smelled like a Chavez.

Responsible (2, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472510)

Everyone must be "responsible" for their words. Responsibility begins with registering your nicknames along with your address for our thugs.

That's the plan (3, Insightful)

Incubusxp (1107147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472530)

In Venezuela the freedom of speech is the greatest in the world. In Television News anchors openly talk about killing the president, they make calls for a coup d'etat, all this goes for newspapers and radio stations. People can say and think whatever thay want. There has been 11 years of this. And they still say that there is no freedom of speech in Venezuela. I watch how the world sees Venezuela, they show a country in total war with mass killings, wich is total bullshit. Yes there was a time 2002-2003 where there was a fight and a coup d'etat, wich the people fought to get their president back and they won, the vast majority of Venezuelans won. This small faction of what we call "media terrorist" who own private TV stations, radio, and newspapers still attack their own country by lying to them. Im venezuelan, if you want to know the truth of whats happening here, come to Venezuela, to any part of it, and you will see peace, a beautiful country.

Re:That's the plan (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472730)

Welcome to Slashdot "chavista' friend... Apart from the regional channel Globovision what other channel openly criticize the government? Venevision made a pact with the government and RCTV was taken down and supplanted by a pseudo-cuban channel... Now they want to control Internet using a unique point of access controlled by CANTV.

Re:That's the plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472806)

My name is Andrés Izarra, and I approve of this message...

..."media terrorist"...

I love it.. Hat's off to you if you can keep a straight face while spewing that one.

Re:That's the plan (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31472854)

In Venezuela the freedom of speech is the greatest in the world. In Television News anchors openly talk about killing the president, they make calls for a coup d'etat, all this goes for newspapers and radio stations.

[citation needed]

People can say and think whatever thay want.

"Think", yes; there's no Thought Police in sight. "Say", yes too unless it's printed / broadcast in any major news outlet, and even then you only have to pack up in advance of the defamation "suit".

There has been 11 years of this. And they still say that there is no freedom of speech in Venezuela. I watch how the world sees Venezuela, they show a country in total war with mass killings, wich is total bullshit.

Again [citation needed]. Straw man anyone?

Yes there was a time 2002-2003 where there was a fight and a coup d'etat, wich the people fought to get their president back and they won, the vast majority of Venezuelans won. This small faction of what we call "media terrorist" who own private TV stations, radio, and newspapers still attack their own country by lying to them.

They attack their government, which is not the same. Shall I explain the difference to you?

Im venezuelan, if you want to know the truth of whats happening here, come to Venezuela, to any part of it, and you will see peace, a beautiful country.

Yeah, I guess 16,000 homicides last year [el-nacional.com] in a 24MM people country make for a lot of peace on the streets. And 27% inflation brings rainbows and puppies all around.

Context (1, Troll)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472532)

This sort of thing will not be considered in Europe or North America, and us residents of those places will pat ourselves on the back for our love of liberty...

The difference between Venezuela and our countries is that in our countries, the ruling class own both the media and politicians. In Venezuela, they just own the media.

Chavez has some bad policies, and we're right to criticise those policies, but the context is important for forming an accurate opinion rather than a knee-jerk chauvinist one.

wild west (1, Insightful)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472554)

The wild west day of the internet are almost over.

The internet can now give power to individuals, corporations and governments (and the US corpovernment ) will not let this go on for long, unless ...

"The internet should not be a free thing" (4, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472576)

The rumor was posted anonymously in well-known forum Noticiero Digital [noticierodigital.com] , which is intermittently moderated, if at all. Local TV news station Globovisión (strongly critical of Chávez's government, and a frequent target of regulatory action) quotes Chávez [globovision.com] (in Spanish):

The internet cannot be a free thing, each country has its rules. Regulation and laws. All these pages have an administrator. We must act. We're going to request support from the Attorney General.

This is not acceptable, that they broadcast whatever they want, poisoning the minds of many people

Noticiero Digital (listen, this is very grave): "Breaking news; Diosdado Cabello [wikipedia.org] murdered" [...] Someone has to be responsible here because these pages cannot be free for what you to want to say. There are laws here and they must be obeyed.

Link to original video: Dailymotion - Chávez pide actuar contra ND [dailymotion.com] (in Spanish).

Misleading headline (1)

Little_Professor (971208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472578)

The headline states "Chavez to limit internet freedom" as if he has just instituted a Great Firewall of Venezuela. He has done nothing of the sort. All he has done is make a public call for more regulation of the internet to prevent false and defamatory information. Clueless politicians across the globe make similar calls all [guardian.co.uk] the [theage.com.au] time [h-online.com] , even in the land of the free. Much more worrying is the planned Australian censorship of the internet.

Re:Misleading headline (2, Informative)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472774)

Actually, he has. CANTV, which is the main telephone provider in Venezuela, has been routinely blocking certain webpages. It's owned by the government. I could find sources, but they are all on spanish. Granted, it isn't a very effective block (hello proxies), which is probably why the full blown out block hasn't been implemented: They can't.

Another anti-Chavez ill-informed kneejerk reaction (2, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472808)

This report provides a great opportunity to see how the anti-Chavez croud is prone to knee-jerk reactions while so poorly informed. The thing is, the report which this slashdot post is based on only mentions that Chavez complained about a specific website posting false information. More specifically, the offending website, which is ran by an anti-Chavez faction, made up a story about how one of Chavez' cabinet ministers was assassinated and kept the made up story on it's site for days, although it was repeatedly contacted and informed that the minister was, in fact, alive and well. Chavez' coment is nothing more than a complain that just because it's the internet you shouldn't be allowed to dedicate itself to defamation and intentionally spread false information. And suddenly he is labelled as a dictator hell-bent on destroying openness? What twisted train of thought leads you from a) you shouldn't spread lies to b) no freedom for you?

The thing is, this is yet another example on how hell-bent some people are on attacking Chavez. For example, imagine that a media company such as Fox/CNN/whatever decided to run stories on how Bush/Obama was assassinated. Imagine that that media company decided not only to post that information but also kept it up for days, although it was repeatedly contacted to be informed that no, Bush/Obama was still very much alive. If, after that, Bush/Obama complained that you shouldn't post false information to your heart's content, would that make Bush/Obama dictators who hate freedom and want to wage war on openness? Heck, what if it was your very death that the website announced? Would you enjoy having to go around contacting everyone you could informing that you were still very much alive? Wouldn't you want that site to stop spreading those lies? Wouldn't you want that sort of action to be illegal? Of course you would. But suddenly, if Chavez mentions it then he becomes an evil, anti-freedom dictator? Go figure.

There are a lot of irrational, ill-informed anti-Chavez militants around and they don't hate Chavez because of anything he actually did. In fact, they don't base their hatred on anything. Their hatred for Chavez is their starting point and they pick up from there, grasping at straws to try to justify they hatred. Those irrational, anti-Chavez militants make it a point to accuse him of being a dictator although he is holding a democratically appointed position to which he was elected time [wikipedia.org] and [wikipedia.org] again [wikipedia.org] and although he has been the target of multiple [wikipedia.org] coup [wikipedia.org] attempts, all of which were reverted by none other than Venezuela's people. Is that what being a dictator is about?

Personally, I don't like Chavez. I believe he is a demagogue who, at best, is trying to revolutionize a society which can barely manage to function. Yet, I'm always left dumbfounded by the string of primal anti-Chavez sentiment which is based on nothing more than the ill-informed imagination of a hand-full of idiots who don't even know why they hate him. That is to be expected among the great unwashed masses but hell, this is supposed to be slashdot, a place where informed, educated people tend to read and post news. This sort of nonsense shouldn't take place here.

Re:Another anti-Chavez ill-informed kneejerk react (4, Informative)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31472824)

Wait, wait, the coup attempt in 1992 was directed by Chavez, not targeting him. He was elected in 1999.
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