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IV. Governance issues

Private sector initiatives

The Venezuelan Chamber of Electronic Commerce (Cavecom-e) and the Chamber of Telecommunications Service Companies (CASETEL) have jointly developed an initiative (Policies for the Proper use of Networks) to research and generate a set of best practices to foster the proper use of networks.1 The main objectives of these policies, which were published in October 2003, are to train users in the proper use of networks, identify practical and secure solutions to address the problems of intrusive mass mailings, and try to prevent attacks on networks. The policies consider spam (unsolicited commercial e-mails), malware (adware, spyware, viruses, Trojans), network attacks, and unsolicited opening of ports, open relays or proxies, to be "bad practices."

Civil society advocacy work

The non-governmental organization (NGO) sector has also participated in identifying problems of access to information, freedom of expression, censorship, voting secrecy and the right to electoral participation. An accusation of conspiracy and treason was launched against the Asociación Civil Súmate2 and its directors.

The NGO Venezuelan Education Action Program (PROVEA) has received complaints from more than 70 journalists for acts of aggression and from 60 for censorship, among cases related to the violation of freedom of expression in Venezuela. PROVEA was concerned that the RESORTE Law, which had not yet been published at the time of publication of PROVEA's 2004 report, could be an instrument of censorship.3

Another NGO, Transparency Venezuela (TV), when the Electoral Report4 was presented by Venezuela to the Interamerican Convention against Corruption (CICC) in March 2004, declared that it had been difficult to access information that concerned them. However, information should be public for two reasons: 1) state organizations have not assimilated the citizen's right to access information which concerns them, pursuant to the Constitution of 1999, and 2) information systems are outdated and inefficient. Transparency Venezuela sees this situation reflected even in the official report presented before the Committee of Experts of the CICC since the report, lacks data, quantifying studies and statistics, which impede the effective statement of accounts, and a proper factual evaluation in order to reach satisfactory conclusions. They conclude that, as long as the Judicial Branch, the Attorney General's Office (Ministerio Público), the Ombudsman and the Public Controller's Office cannot rely on precise statistical data, improvements in the transparency of the administration that affect the country are not likely.

International obligations

Venezuela ratified the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,5 the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights on June 23, 1977.6 The Convention provides that every person has "the right to have his honor respected and his dignity recognized." Additionally, "no one may be the object of arbitrary or abusive interference with his private life, his family, his home, or his correspondence, or of unlawful attacks on his honor or reputation. And everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."