Data verification blocked in Venezuela

Data verification blocked in Venezuela
Data verification blocked in Venezuela

By Melina Barbosa

The day the presidential campaigns started in Venezuelatwo sites dedicated to fact-checking and combating disinformation were blocked by the operators CANTv, Digitel, Net Uno, Inter and Movistar.

This attack on freedom of expression and the right to information occurs in the midst of the Venezuelan electoral context and after the sites Fake News Hunters y EsPaja They will document disinformation about the candidates and the electoral process itself.

So far, 47 digital media outlets have been blocked in Venezuela.

Access to Fake News Hunters and EsPaja is closed

The Fake News Hunters organization reported on July 4 the blocking of its website due to restrictions on CANTv, Digitel, Inter and Movistar; main telecommunications operators in the South American nation.

According to VEsinFiltro monitoring, in the case of CANTv the domain has a DNS + HTTPS type block, while in Digitel, Net Uno, Inter and Movistar, the block is of the DNS type, reads a statement from Cazadores de Fake News.

The initiative that seeks to combat misinformation circulating on social networks about Venezuela noted that this blocking of access to its website is a attack on freedom of expression and the right to information.

Similarly, VEsinFiltro determined that the media portal dedicated to verifying information, EsPaja, was also blocked on the same day by Cantv, Digitel and Movistar.

In the first operator the blocking is of the HTTPS + DNS type, while in the last two it is of the DNS type.

«A pattern of censorship and restrictions on civic space – which has harmed dozens of media outlets – now directly affects (…) The restriction on access to our portal in Venezuela coincides with the beginning of the electoral campaign for the presidential elections of #28Jul. In response to which this portal has been carrying out an exhaustive work of dismantling disinformation through checks and verifications, in addition to our bulletins with the #RadarElectoral«, denounced EsPaja via X (formerly Twitter).

Censorship to Fact Checking and Media by the State

Media outlets in Venezuela reported that the son-in-law of the opposition presidential candidate, Edmundo González, was under investigation for drug trafficking in the United States, but Cazadores de Fake News revealed last Wednesday, July 3, that this information It was fake.

During the pre-campaign, EsPaja also documented 82 pieces of misinformation about the presidential candidates.

Both the blocking of Cazadores de Fake News and that of EsPaja occurred on the same day that the electoral campaign began and after these sites documented, during the pre-campaign, publications that misinformed about the candidates and the electoral process.

VE sin Filtro warns that it has detected an increase in the number of information sites blocked in Venezuela, especially in view of the presidential elections on July 28, when information is essential for decision-making.

An example of this is that according to data from the Peace Laboratory, so far in 2024, 14 radio stations have been closedat least have been reported six cases of censorship against journalists and 47 digital media were blocked in Venezuela.

The Declaration of Sarajevo, The report, issued on June 25 during the GlobalFact event, which brings together hundreds of fact-checkers from around the world, confirms that in recent years fact-checking organizations from 80 countries have been the target of attacks with labels such as “internet censors.”

The document, which reflects growing concerns about the escalation of attacks against fact-checkers and the data verification community worldwide, recalls that Censorship removes information, while fact-checking adds it.


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