miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2015

American journalists suffer from many of the same kind of issues faced in Cuba

What It’s Like to Launch an Independent News Outlet in Cuba

Elaine Díaz, the first Cuban journalist to receive a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, returned home earlier this year and resigned from the University of Havana, where she taught for seven years. Last weekend, she launched a news startup,Periodismo de Barrio, or Community Journalism. I asked her about her plans, the new era in relations between the United States and Cuba and her impressions of the United States.

You recently quit your job to launch an independent news site in a country with no press freedom laws, no independent printing presses and extremely limited Internet access. What were you thinking?

I believe in journalism as a force that can improve societies. I also believe that there are problems in local areas in Cuba that need to be addressed. A process as complex as the economic and social reforms that are taking place in my country at this moment, in the midst of broadening ties with the United States, needs as many voices as you can get to illuminate the Cuba that is emerging.

Describe the types of censorship in Cuba today.

To properly describe censorship in Cuba I would have needed to have worked at a state-run media outlet and I never did. My taste of censorship on the island stems from pieces I published on my blog, La Polémica Digital, the Digital Controversy.

How were you censored?

There were occasional reprimands from my bosses at the University of Havana, a state-run institution, for critical posts. I have friends who were punished or removed from their jobs as a result of articles they posted online. Interestingly, there are people within state media who are eager to spread news that they couldn’t publish. I once wrote an article exposing corruption at a boarding school. The former deputy director of the state-run Cuban News Agency printed the post and left it in the office of the Ministry of Education. They launched an investigation and the director was fired and faced legal charges.


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