Venezuela wants to increase access to Internet, not limit it, minister says

Venezuela's minister of Information and Communications, Andrés Izarra, announced that President Hugo Chávez's government wants to increase the population's access to the Internet, not limit it, reported the state-run newspaper Correo del Orinoco. Izarra also denied that Venezuela had "some type of repression on the free flow of ideas," EFE added.

According to Izarra, Internet access in Venezuela grew 1000 percent between 2000 and 2010. "This happened in the country where supposedly the Internet is censored, according to the bombardment of lies from the international media," Radio Nacional de Venezuela quoted the minister as saying.

After participating in the Forum on Information Technology and Communication in the Counter-hegemonic Struggle (dealing with the alleged manipulation of news in Libya), Izarra said that the president's popularity on Twitter, with more than two million followers, is a sign that "communicational democracy" exists in Venezuela, Radio Mundial reported.

"Since we created chavezcandanga (President Chávez's Twitter account), the number of Venezuelans using Twitter has grown exponentially," Izarra said, reported Noticia Al Día.

Recently, the organization Freedom House included Venezuela in a list of countries where the free use of the Internet is most at risk. In March, Reporters without Borders also listed Venezuela as an enemy of the Internet.