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View of a computer screen showing the Twitter account of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas. A proposed law in Venezuela would expand the powers of the government to control and monitor internet use without institutional checks. (Juan Barreto/AFP)

CPJ joins letter expressing concern about proposed cyberspace law in Venezuela

January 18, 2019 12:38 PM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined more than 30 regional and international rights organizations expressing concern about a proposed law in Venezuela that would expand the powers of the government to control and monitor internet use without institutional checks.

The letter outlines the threats that the proposed Constitutional Law of Cyberspace poses to international standards and human rights norms, including freedom of the press and access to information, and calls on Venezuelan lawmakers to reject the bill. The proposed law would create a national cyber defense entity to oversee the "Cyberspace of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" and grant it broad surveillance and sanctioning authority, and would force service providers to censor certain content without prior judicial order, among other provisions.

"This proposed law is a frightening expansion of the Venezuelan government's increasingly aggressive efforts to use public policies to control communication and information-sharing in the country," said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick. "A law that gives the state unchecked control over online content in the name of security is little more than a blatant attempt to censor one of the few remaining spheres for Venezuelan journalists to carry out their work."

Read the full letter here.

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