Chavez calls for curbs on internet

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The Independent US

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for regulation of the internet while demanding authorities crack down on a critical news website that he accused of spreading false information.

In a televised speech, Mr Chavez said: "The internet can't be something free where anything can be done and said. No, every country has to impose its rules and regulations."

He singled out the Venezuelan news site Noticiero Digital, saying it had posted false information that some of his close allies had been killed.

Mr Chavez called for Venezuela's attorney general to take action immediately against the website. "This is a crime," he said of the site's reports.

There was no immediate reaction from the website, which is a popular outlet for critical news and commentary in Venezuela.

Mr Chavez has regularly clashed with critical broadcasters and newspapers. One anti-Chavez channel, Radio Caracas Television, was forced to move to cable in 2007 after the president refused to renew its licence.

In January, cable and satellite TV providers also stopped transmitting that channel under government orders after it defied regulations requiring it to televise some of Mr Chavez's speeches.

The last anti-Chavez channel on the open airwaves, Globovision, faces multiple investigations by government regulators for alleged violations of broadcast regulations.