Sunday, March 26

Internet providers block access to information in Venezuela, according to NGOs and media

The Venezuelan news site Cocuyo effect It has been blocked in Venezuela for several days. The outlet’s director, Luz Mely Reyes, received the news on Tuesday morning that the private communications company, Intercable, did not allow access to the site from Venezuela.

“We have been intermittently blocked for more than two years by Compañía Anónima Nacional Telefónica de Venezuela (Cantv), which is the state operator, but a massive blockade of private operators like the one that began this Tuesday had never happened before,” he tells Luz Mely Reyes.

The director of the media ensures that private companies have not given them information about the reasons for the cut. “So far we have identified three operators through a report by the NGO Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS Venezuela),” says Reyes.

The private Internet providers that, according to this organization, would have joined in blocking the Domain Name System (SND) that prevents access to the IP address of a website are: Digitel, Movistar, Intercable and Supercable.

But the one from Cocuyo effect It is not the only case. At least two more media outlets were victims of censorship, according to the organization Smart Venezuela . “The affected companies have been three: Cocuyo effect, Y EVTV. And we are investigating if there is not a fourth case,” says Andrés Azpúrua, executive director of this institution and coordinator of the project. VE without Filter documenting Internet blockades in Venezuela.

“These blockades seem to be by zones. We are still in the process of investigation. In Caracas we verified that they blocked access and in Zulia as well. These operators should inform us of the reason for these blockades,” says Reyes.

The question still not resolved is whether the blockade against these sites has been ordered by the National Telecommunications Commission of Venezuela (Conatel), which depends on the Government. This commission is the one that decides who can operate as an Internet service provider, but can it censor the content that can be seen on the web?

“Normally what happens is that Conatel, which is the telecommunications regulator in Venezuela, asks Internet providers to block certain websites or other online services. It is an illegal process, ex officio, without a court order, violating international human rights standards and without transparency,” says Azpúrua.