Boing Boing reports that after finding himself on the receiving end of widespread criticism and unfriendly hashtags on Twitter, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has announced that he now considers Twitter messages and social networking as terrorist threats. Boing Boing points to a Spanish language article that calls for more State control (read censorship) over the internet. A Google machine translated version of the article notes,
Twitter could be declared ‘a tool of terror’ because the deputies, responding to the presidential request, said they will intervene “for the welfare of the people”, eliminating terrorist threats posed by social networks.
Now consider what’s gone on in Sri Lanka in 2010 alone.
- Three arrested for spreading SMS and Facebook rumours (and related Govt. comes down hard on SMS conspirators)
- Clamping down on websites in Sri Lanka with Chinese help (and related Facebook users come under scrutiny)
- Anti-national elements may be arrested – Keheliya (“… anyone who engaged in campaigns against national security and Sri Lanka’s sovereignt (sic) by sending false messages via mobile phones would be arrested forthwith and be dealt with according to the law.”)
- Websites blocked just hours before poll results due to be announced (and related As Sri Lanka election nears, pro-opposition writer vanishes)
Notice any parallels?