So is access to the internet a right or a luxury? Decree No. 6649 coming out of Venezuela seems to side with it as luxury.
The decree seeks to eliminate “luxuries” or “superfluous expenses” among the public expenditure, among which includes the Internet.
This seems to go against an earlier decree No. 825 from 2000 that said that internet access and use were a priority.
A campaign, Internet Prioritaria, has launched in response to the latest decree, with a goal of keeping the internet as a government priority.
…this community’s concern is to maintain research and educational programs that is made possible because of the Internet, “we must guarantee that the sustainability of university projects based on information technologies is not affected by budget cuts.”
Among their objectives, Internet Prioritaria wants to maintain the status of Internet use as a priority, to develop technologies associated with Internet use that could be helpful in the public sector, and to support research on information technologies. Also, the group proposes to place the use of these technologies in the discussion around Venezuelan media so there could be a deep dialogue on the weight of Internet in development, as well as the importance of digital literacy.
Some say that the activists are reading too much into the law, that the decree doesn’t want to ban the internet but that economic priorities are economic priorities.