Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cuba - Harassment of alternative media

Cuba: Harassment of alternative media
ARMANDO CHAGUACEDA | Ciudad de México | 22 de Septiembre de 2016 - 14:05

A new fight against the demons of censorship is being waged these days
in Cuba. In a feverish damage control operation, the Cuban authorities
and their organic propagandists have accused various media and
journalists of being "Trojan Horses, funded by the enemy." Authorities
are busy assassinating reputations of members of the alternative press,
citing the criminal and labor codes or simply sending their dark agents
to warn —in situ or through social-networks— that some kind of
superhuman anger will break loose from Olympus.

Those beleaguered by official harassment share common features. They are
mostly young journalists who use online media to convey news of daily
life in fresh reports and chronicles combined with columns of opinion
and, above all, with a commitment to investigative journalism of high
ethical caliber that meets civic and aesthetic standards. Avoiding
traditional approaches of political media accustomed to sing praises of
the performance of rulers or dissenters, these postmodern minstrels of
the people 2.0 tell about the problems of neighborhoods without water,
of forest ecocide and the official perversion of cultural festivals.
With resources obtained from crowd founding and some limited
sponsorships, scholarships and personal savings, they try to do decent
and creative journalism in a situation in which the role of the press
has been perverted by the ideological propaganda of the old bureaucrats
and, to a lesser extent, by the public relations agendas of the new
rich. The alternative media struggling to change this situation have
earned the respect of icons of global journalism such as J. Lee Anderson
and Ernesto Londoño.

The perversity and stupidity underlying the official censorship campaign
are, like the universe, infinite and expanding. By seeing the world only
with their Stalinist eyes, they can't see other referents than the old
Soviet Pravda and are blind to relevant models like the dynamic
Huffington Post. They pretend to pass as alternative media what are
really irrelevant approaches that can no longer command attention, in
order to summon support for the Revolution from an Internet that is
simply not available to the majority of Cubans. They pretend to dive
vertically, from above, over networks that are intended for an open
society and that can only be surfed horizontally. Their role models are
in Pyongyang and Harare.

I have two questions regarding this general offensive against
alternative media. Why do the usual agents of "Soft Insular Power"
(ex-diplomats, ex-cops and ex-intellectuals) who not long ago celebrated
these online media now remain silent when an opposition press that they
consider unfair uses them? And why insist today, as some of them do, on
what these alternative journalists did or did not do when facing other
situations in the past? Power prevails through fragmentation. The
important thing is to denounce, with solidarity, the official attacks on
people who are learning to do journalism from the passions of their
daily lives.

Source: Cuba: Harassment of alternative media | Diario de Cuba -

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