AMERICA/NICARAGUA - The Church: "No" to the censorship of social media

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Posted on: 03/18/18
Managua - "The state should not control or censor social media because it would limit freedom of expression, nor should it stand as a moral arbiter of people": this is what Mgr. Silvio José Báez, auxiliary Bishop of Managua says to Agenzia Fides, pointing out the serious danger for Nicaraguan society.
The intervention of Mgr. Baéz, followed by that of other Bishops, was among the first public reactions after Rosario Murillo, vice president and wife of President Daniel Ortega, appeared on the national television network to announce that he talked with the president of the National Assembly to "review the use of social networks" in the Central American country. Murillo, who is a powerful Prime minister, said that social networks are "negatively affecting Nicaraguans" and even influencing the country's "family’s ability to coexist". According to observers, the government is studying ways to censor the criticisms that are being addressed through social media every day.
In the current situation, in a country where any demonstration against the current executive is stopped with violence by the police, where the critics are silenced and some journalists persecuted, Murillo's announcement was taken very seriously, generating a wave of indignation in social media that could become victims of censorship: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. "If this project is realized it will be the unequivocal sign of an autocracy that is more and more similar to a dictatorship".
Mgr. Rolando Álvarez, responsible for social communications of the Bishops' Conference of Nicaragua, believes that a law that limits the freedom of the population and freedom of expression, even on the web, is counterproductive: "One must not limit anyone’s freedom: in social networks, as in any street, people can write and express their opinion, of course one must stigmatize the lack of respect or offenses to the dignity of the person, but not for this we can limit the freedom of people", said the Bishop.
The position of the Catholic Church in this regard is very clear, and Mgr. Baéz recalled the Christian social doctrine quoting the document published by the then Pontifical Council for Social Communications "Ethics on the Internet" and stated: "We deplore the attempts of public authorities to block access to information, on the Internet or other social media, preventing legitimate freedom of expression and opinion".


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