Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cuba's Internet - Opening Up the Country in Fits and Starts

Cuba's Internet: Opening Up the Country in Fits and Starts
By Robert Schoon (r.schoon@latinpost.com)First Posted: May 26, 2014
04:00 PM EDT

Last week, a new website started by a Cuban dissident blogger began
publishing, was hacked, and then banned. But now it's reportedly been
unbanned as the Cuban Internet, still far from modern or open, continues
to make tiny steps toward opening up in terms of Cuban access,
censorship and connectivity to the rest of the world.
Cuba's first major independent news outlet in 50 years opened its
digital doors last week, as we previously reported. Run by Yoani
Sánchez, a dissident blogger whose views of the Cuban government are
anything but the party line, 14ymedio.com began publishing on Wednesday
last week. The upstart site features 11 staffers, including Sánchez and
her husband Reinaldo Escobar, who serves as the site's editor-in-chief.
The digital paper aims to straddle the fine line between producing
independent journalism and avoiding pressure from the Cuban government,
which still has laws on the books that punishes criticism of the ruling
government with jail time. State pressure was already on 14ymedio with
six of the 11 staffers were already brought in for questioning by Cuban
state security officials. "We want to produce a newspaper that doesn't
aim to be anti-Castro," said Escobar to The Associated Press, but at the
same time, "a newspaper that's committed to the truth, to Cubans'
everyday reality."

14yMedio's Bumpy Start: Hacking and Censorship
Despite tactical moves to avoid government pressure, like labeling
Sánchez's team as "typists" rather than "journalists" because it's the
"closest thing to journalism" that Cuban law allows, 14yMedio was almost
immediately broadsided by the Cuban government. Though the Cuban
government said it was unaware of the situation, Sánchez's site was
hacked and a redirect for Cuban readers put in place.
The 14yMedio site redirect was to another site that reflected the Cuban
government's official line and criticized Sánchez, though readers
outside of Cuba could still access Sánchez's new online newspaper.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the 38-year-old Sánchez reacted to
the censoring hack with aplomb, tweeting (as translated into English)
"Bad strategy of the Cuban government to redirect our new web
14ymedio.com. From #Cuba there is nothing as attractive as what is

Source: Cuba's Internet: Opening Up the Country in Fits and Starts :
Tech : Latin Post -

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