Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Yoani Sánchez' digital newspaper, 14ymedio, is online


The daily Web newspaper 14ymedio looks like a fully traditional digital "newspaper" with news, sports, culture, opinion, fashion tips, weather, etc.

The 14ymedio "declaration of intentions" says the team is committed to promoting truth, freedom and human rights, without ideological or partisan ties -- they hope to provide a space for respectful debate and to contribute to the peaceful transition to democracy. A group of 28 writers and intellectuals, including Mario Vargas Llosa and Lech Walesa, signed a request that the Cuban government respect 14ymedio and allow it to exist with free expression.

Evidently some pro-government people were not happy with the launch of 14ymedio -- the Cuban domain name server was hacked, and Cubans looking for 14ymedio.com were automatically redirected to a pro-government Web site. Doug Madory of Renesys reported that the hack was local to Cuba and the site was visible in foreign nations. Madory speculated that the hack had been done by someone inside ETECSA.

Today, relatively few people on the island can afford to access 14ymedio online, but stripped down PDF and text versions are available. For the first issue, they were quite minimal -- hopefully they will improve -- becoming something like the daily New York Times Digest. It could also be included on flash drives that are regularly distributed on the island. Regardless, I hope the hack was a rogue action and the paper turns out to be the impartial forum envisioned by the founders.

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