Saturday, May 23, 2015

‘14ymedio’ seen by its readers

'14ymedio' seen by its readers / 14ymedio, Rosa Lopez
Posted on May 22, 2015

14ymedio, Rosa Lopez, Havana, 21 May 2015 – "The connection doesn't
work," the young man tells the employee who frowns at him for making her
get out of her comfortable chair. The heat is terrible and the air
conditioning hasn't worked for weeks in a State-run "Nauta" Internet
room centrally located in Havana's Plaza municipality. The woman
approaches listlessly, looks at the screen, types in a some web address
and the page opens with no problems. The client returns to the fray,
"And why when I type in nothing happens?" A snort is heard
throughout the navigation room. "Look son, it is because you can't enter
that site, you understand me?" In a few seconds the internaut has
received his first lesson in censorship.

Who in Cuba reads the digital daily 14ymedio? This is the question for
which the management of this medium has gone out into street to look for
answers and suggestions to improve our work. We have surveyed different
age groups, political viewpoints, and geographic situations, to try to
trace a map of those Cubans who have in front of their eyes some of the
content that we publish on the site.

An initial incursion along busy G Street, last Saturday night, shed
light on some of those followers or detractors. "Ah, yes, I've had a
copy for some months, but they publish almost nothing on videogames,"
although, "my dad likes it because it talks about politics and that
stuff," says Juan Carlos Zamora, 19, a student at the Pedagogical
Institute. "A friend told me about the newspaper, but I would recommend
more topics for young people, like fashion and technology," added this
young man.

Since the day it was founded, 14ymedio has been blocked on the national
servers that provide public Internet. Internet rooms, connections from
hotels and other state locales show an error message on the screen when
someone tries to access the portal. A PDF version published every
Friday, with the best of the week's news and an active network of
friends and colleagues, is distributed within the country. The
appearance in February of last year of Nauta email service has also
contributed to the spread of the content, although there is much more to
do in that direction.

For Marcia Sosa, a retired civil engineer living in Santiago de Cuba,
"The best part is the list of prices for products in the farmers market,
because you can see how expensive life is." The lady receives the
content of our site by email, because, "My son sends it to me every day
from Miami, but without the images because that takes too long to load."
The retiree believes that "they should open a section saying where to
find what product, because sometimes I'm like a crazy person looking all
over and not knowing where to find it." What she likes least, however,
are "the opinion columns, because here everyone has an opinion, there
are 11 million Cubans and 20 million opinions."

In the city of Ciego de Avila, Ruben Rios has taken on the task of
sharing with his friends copies of the 14ymedio articles that come his
way. "I do it because I believe people should hear all versions,
although I don't agree with part of what you publish." Recently released
from prison, Rios has dedicated himself to getting his life back, "and
informing myself is a way of feeling free, so I read everything that
comes to hand and I am lucky that the newspaper comes my way."

In the guts of 14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez finds that his work on
the team "Has been a liberating experience." For this activist and
reporter, writing for the digital site is not only "a democratic
exercise, but also it is a very serious project." He remarks with pride,
"This is the prelude of the new press that is coming, the prelude of
freedom of the press, of democracy." However, he concedes that there is
a long way to go to improve the quality and elevate the training of the
press's reporters and correspondents. "This is a school for me, now I
have to publish every article with more objectivity."

Yunier receives the articles appearing in our independent daily through
the so-called "Marta's list." A Cuban immigrant living in Miami who
participated in December 2004 in the founding of the digital magazine
Consenso (Consensus), one of the first embryos of the independent press
that took advantage of the new technologies. Marta Cortizas performs the
true "labor of a little ant" compiling every day the best of the Cuban
and international press and sending it by email to a growing number of
subscribers. "If it weren't for her, it would cost me a lot of work to
read what you publish from Holguin."

And why is it called 14ymedio, asks a resident of the Fanguito
neighborhood when we inquire about our portal. With long experience
standing in lines and counting every gram she receives from the ration
market, the elderly lady is sure that behind a name like this, "there
has to be something hidden, a warning… come on." She doesn't accept the
explanation about the 14th floor where our headquarters are located, the
"Y" from a well-known digital blog, nor the polysemy of "medio" in
Spanish, which means both "half" and "press media." "There is some trick
here, some mathematical formula or who knows," she concludes maliciously.

Not everyone likes it, which is evidence of the plurality of tastes and
information preferences of the Cuban population. "I haven't read it, I'm
not going to read it, because I don't have to visit this site to know
that you want to destroy the country and do away with the Revolution,"
says Nelson Bonne. A self-employed worker in Las Tunas, the man
considers that "The [the State run newspaper] Granma is enough for me,
and I don't need any little newspaper created by the enemy."

The director of the magazine Convivencia (Coexistence), Dagoberto
Valdes, has a more constructive opinion. "To have a newspaper made in
Cuba, by Cubans and for Cubans, is for me the best, and we are going to
all push together to get access to the Internet so that we Cubans can
look into this window."

Source: '14ymedio' seen by its readers / 14ymedio, Rosa Lopez |
Translating Cuba -

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