Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Cuba the tenth most censored nation in the World, but they are improving.

Cuban newspaper vendor sells the state paper, Granma

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has listed Cuba as the tenth most censored country in the world, saying:
Despite significant improvements in the past few years-such as the elimination of exit visas that had prohibited most foreign travel for decades-Cuba continues to have the most restricted climate for press freedom in the Americas.
That sounds pretty bad, but CPJ has been reporting about repression of journalists on their Web site since 1998. In that year, they ranked Cuba as the fourth worst offender on their Enemies of the Press list, saying "The independent journalism movement seemed to gain strength until early 1996, when Cuban MIGs shot down two private planes piloted by exiles from Miami" -- an action that strengthened hard liners in both Cuba and the US -- and went on to say that:
Despite implicit promises to Pope John Paul II that there would be greater room for freedom of expression, Castro continues his control over all media outlets and his harsh treatment of independent journalists, who are routinely detained, arrested and beaten, or forced into exile, especially before major political events.
Unfortunately, I could not find a clear explanation of the methodology for these rankings, nor does the CPJ do them on a regular basis. I found three more in their archive:

  • 2006 (Cuba ranked 7th)
  • 2009 (Cuba ranked 4th)
  • 2012 (Cuba ranked 9th)

CPJ has many blog posts and some country reports (like this 2011 report on Cuba) which are best found by going to their Web site and searching for Cuba. Somewhat ironically, CPJ needs a better organized and designed Web site.

At any rate, the situation in Cuba is better than it was before, and, with the current rapprochement with the US, I bet Cuba is off the ten worst list next time CPJ publishes their rankings.
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