Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denied that the government plans to impose controls on the Internet, saying that his administration aims to increase Web access rather than limit it.
Earlier this month, Chavez sparked concerns of a possible crackdown on Web sites critical of his government when he called for regulation of the Internet and urged prosecutors to act against Noticiero Digital, a site popular among his opponents.
Chavez has become increasingly critical of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and says adversaries use them to deceive the public.
Yesterday, speaking during his weekly television and radio show, the socialist leader said the government has inaugurated 668 Internet centres in much of the country that offer Venezuelans access to the Web, and his administration plans to spend close to USD 11 million this year to build 200 more.
Still, Chavez also told his audience that government critics often use the Web "to generate panic," and said such actions "cannot be permitted”.
He announced plans to counter such online criticism by launching his own Web page and becoming a cyber-activist himself, "I`m going to have my Internet trench, my trench for the battle."