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19 independent Cuban media outlets publish joint declaration demanding more protection and respect for the press from government

In a joint statement published simultaneously on Oct. 7 by 19 independent Cuban media, journalists on the island reported experiencing a wave of repression to silence them from the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Screenshot of CubaNet’s post of the joint declaration

According to the document, since January 2018 to date, 183 aggressions against journalists on the island have been documented. This wave has sharply increased in recent months, they said.

The media outlets that signed the statement are 14yMedio, ADN Cuba, Alas Tensas, Árbol Invertido, Asociación Pro Libertad de Prensa (APLP), CiberCuba, Convivencia, CubaNet, Diario de Cuba, magazine El Estornudo, Havana Times, Hypermedia Magazine, La Hora de Cuba, Play-Off Magazine, Proyecto Inventario, Puente a la Vista, Rialta, Tremenda Nota and YucaByte.

The attacks, according to the complaint, include “arbitrary detentions, interrogations, psychological intimidation, verbal aggressions, house raids, bans on leaving the country, sexual harassment, cyberbullying, defamation, provocations in public and confiscation of work equipment, among others."

"We demand that the authorities prohibit illegal detentions, pressure, use and exercise of any tool, mechanism, mode of blackmail and coercion against journalists, because of the issues being investigated, what they think, say and publish," the release says.

Likewise, they demanded from the government, among other issues, the opening of public data generated by its institutions, so that they are free, available and thus facilitate greater citizen oversight.

The independent press also urged the government, for the first time, according to 14yMedio, for the repeal of laws that infringe on the right to freedom of expression and the legalization of independent media.

According to article 53 of the Political Constitution of Cuba, the press, radio, television, cinema and other mass media are state or social property and cannot be the object, under any circumstances, of private property.

Less than a month ago, on Sept. 18, a group of 55 journalists, editors, researchers and professors signed and published a manifesto denouncing violations of press freedom in Cuba. They demanded an end to repression against independent journalists and more guarantees for press freedom. Currently, the signatures of the manifesto total more than a thousand.

According to 14yMedio, in the last ten years, thanks to the internet and new technologies, numerous new and independent digital media outlets were created in Cuba that the Communist Party has not managed to control. At first they were blogs, according to the site, then thematic magazines, informative newspapers, sports, social or environmental publications.

However, last July, the Cuban government published a new Decree of Law in which it states that any Cuban resident who hosts their website or blog on a foreign server will receive a fine between 1,000 and 3,000 Cuban pesos (about US $40 and US $120) and the confiscation of the equipment used in the infraction.

In the framework of the annual General Assembly of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), on Oct. 5 in Florida, USA, Cuban journalist Lucila Morales of the media outlet La Hora de Cuba told EFE that the repression against the independent press in Cuba has increased in recent months. She also said that Facebook has become the platform most used by independent journalists on the island, and the most "difficult to control" for authorities.

Morales presented the report prepared by her compatriot Henry Constantín, vice president of the IAPA for Cuba, who was unable to attend the Assembly. In it, he reported that the government continues its judicial harassment, ‘digital aggression’ and censorship against journalists and independent media on the island, EFE published.


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