Monday, February 24, 2014

The Impunity of Cuba’s Media

The Impunity of Cuba's Media
February 24, 2014
Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

HAVANA TIMES — In a country where news programs offer very little space
for true public opinion and silence the discourse of the political
opposition entirely, one can expect news to be completely skewed and for
no one to feel the need to defend its coherence and significance.

The lack of journalistic professionalism is evident in the way the
official news disguises a change in the country's policies.

One of the causes of this phenomenon is the monopoly over Cuban
television which the State maintains. Within it, official journalists
answer to practically no ethical principles.

Some time ago, to mention one example, a vigorous campaign condemning
the production of transgenic foods around the world was launched by the
evening broadcasts of Cuba's National Television News (NTV). These were
the times when Fidel Castro had a more significant presence in Cuba's
political panorama, a fact which gave the campaign the touch of
catastrophism that the leader always brought to his ecological militancy.

The verdict at the time was unequivocal: the legalization, production
and sale of transgenic food products were part and parcel of the
financial imperialism of agro-industrial transnational companies seeking
to appropriate the agricultural heritage of the Third World.

Several NTV broadcasts showed statistics on the damages to people's
health, domestic economies and local production brought about by these
genetically altered products. These same news programs announced the
screening of documentaries that delved into the issue in depth and
demonstrated the economic, political and ethical unsustainability of
transgenic food production.

Some weeks ago, to the surprise of many, this same news program reported
that transgenic crops would be introduced into Cuba – a 180-degree-turn
which makes no mention of the campaign in which the program enumerated
the disastrous consequences that a decision of this nature had on the
food sovereignty of countries and the health of consumers.

The impunity with which journalists lie becomes even more evident when
one knows, beforehand, that the "preliminary studies" referred to have
been in the works for a very long time and have actually been denounced
by eco-activists, who lost their jobs for revealing this State secret.

Everywhere, the media respond to the interests of their owners: the
State, the market, international organizations, popular movements and
others. Many a time – almost all the time – these interests define how
the news is made.

In Cuba, however, the State media know no limit in their subservience to
those who pay their bills. They are perhaps outdone only by North
Korea's totalitarian information system, to risk an analogy.

Cuba is stifled by an official discourse that says what it pleases, to
the stupefaction of the people, degrading the national debate beyond the
limits of imagination.

Source: The Impunity of Cuba's Media - Havana -

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