Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cuban press makes strides despite controls

Group: Cuban press makes strides despite controls
Posted Sep 28, 2016 9:27 am PDT Last Updated Sep 28, 2016 at 10:00 am PDT

NEW YORK, N.Y. – An independent press is emerging in Cuba despite a
constitutional requirement that media be controlled by the one party
communist state, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a report
issued Wednesday.

CPJ said bloggers, documentary filmmakers and others have been creating
new spaces for free expression and entrepreneurial journalism, but they
are still hindered by the threat of arbitrary detention and limited
internet access.

"The change in Cuba's outlook toward a more free press is a welcome
development," Carlos Lauría, CPJ's program director and senior Americas
program co-ordinator said. "The government needs to ground these changes
in the country's constitution and other legal frameworks so that
journalists and bloggers can report freely and without fear of persecution."

The advent of an independent media can be traced back to 2011 when
President Raul Castro introduced free market reforms, but these reforms
have been sluggishly implemented and even reversed in some cases, the
report states.

The restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba in
December 2014 also made it harder to justify press censorship as a way
to protect from American aggression, the report said, citing Cuban

The report includes an overview of internet access in Cuba, which ranks
last in terms of connectedness in the Americas, complicating efforts by
journalists to distribute their content online.

Cuba also has the most restrictive free speech laws in the Americas and
it ranked 10th on CPJ's 2015 list of world's most censored nations.

CPJ said that many of the journalists it interviewed said they sometimes
avoid publishing work that is overtly critical of the government because
of the lack of legal protections.

The organization called on the Cuban government to dismantle the current
legal framework that allows censorship and arbitrary detention and to
improve internet access for the island's 11 million citizens.

Source: Group: Cuban press makes strides despite controls - NEWS 1130 -
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