Diosdado Cabello, the president of Maduro’s Constituent Assembly, spoke today on his weekly television show about the state of the internet press in Venezuela following the release of a Freedom House report on the matter.
The report, which is titled “Freedom On the Net 2018”, was released last week and documents the abuses against internet press that the Maduro regime has perpetrated this year.
According to the report, Venezuela saw among “the biggest score declines” when it comes to internet press freedom, qualifying the country’s internet as “Not Free”. Other countries with the same ranking are Cuba, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Myanmar.
The report paints a grim picture of internet press freedom in Venezuela:
In Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro clung to power through ever-desperateand draconian curbs on digital freedoms, evenas citizens’ access to the internet was sharply reduced dueto effects of the country’s economic crisis. Once connected,they encounter a digital landscape where critical mediasites are blocked, and political speech on social media sitescan incur hefty penalties. Online journalists who fall afoul ofauthorities risk arbitrary detention. A new anti-hate speechlaw, carrying prison sentences of up to 20 years for spreadingallegedly hateful messages on social networks, is justone of the latest tools to silence dissent.
On his television show, Cabello lashed out against Freedom House, asking sarcastically if it would be better for the Maduro regime to allow the posting of “fake news” online.
Cabello also lamented the fact that people believe that the internet is restricted in Venezuela, and that news posted on El Nacional, La Patilla and El Pitazo are always fake. He said:
The sad thing is not that they [release these reports], but that our own people believe them. That’s the saddest thing. Our own people say, “Could that thing be true?” If you see it on El Nacional, La Patilla or El Pitazo, you can be sure that it’s fake. Fake. A lie. Everything’s put [on those sites] by interest groups.
El Nacional, La Patilla and El Pitazo are among the few remaining and most important independent news outlets in Venezuela. El Pitazo is routinely subjected to nationwide blocks by the Maduro regime to prevent Venezuelans from accessing the site for news.
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