Venezuelan parliament votes to tighten the use of internet

The parliament in Venezuela has approved a law which will tighten the rules regulating internet content. Under the bill, online messages inciting hatred, or political and religious intolerance, are banned. The new law also prohibits contents which is deemed to disrespect public officials. Opposition politicians voted against the measure, which they say is a threat to freedom of speech. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says it will help protect citizens against online crimes.

The Venezuelan Chamber of Electronic Commerce has criticised the measure saying that it is another step on the way to censorship and the blocking of websites. Opposition politicians accuse President Chavez of passing a raft of restrictive laws before January, when a new parliament with more opposition delegates is sworn in. The measure was passed just days after parliament voted to give President Chavez special powers to pass laws by decree for 18 months.

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