Crackdown on media includes ban on Hurricane Matthew coverage

first_img October 15, 2020 Find out more May 6, 2020 Find out more Credit: Miami Herald Organisation RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago RSF_en Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet The arrests of journalists trying to inform fellow citizens about the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Matthew’s passage over eastern Cuba on 4 October are the latest example of how the Cuban government continues its harassment of independent journalism. Their reporting clearly did not please the authorities Maykel González Vivero, a journalist working for the Diario de Cuba news website, was arrested in the eastern city of Baracoa on 10 October while interviewing people about hurricane damage and was held for three days. He had just been fired from state-owned Radio Sagua for working for independent media. On 11 October, it was the turn of six members of the Havana-based Periodismo de Barrio news website, include its director, Elaine Díaz, to be arrested while visiting Baracoa to cover the aftermath of the hurricane. Their equipment was confiscated for several hours. According to the authorities, the journalists were arrested under the state of emergency proclaimed by President Raúl Castro on 4 October, which supposedly prohibited journalistic reporting without special authorization. But for the state of emergency to be valid, it should have been accompanied by a resolution defining how and in what regions of the country it was to be applied. No such resolution was ever formally issued by the authorities. There is no shortage of subjects that are off-limits for unauthorized media outlets. Reinaldo Escobar, a journalist with the 14ymedio website, was unable to cover the inauguration of the first regular flight between the United States and Cuba. He was arrested in Santa Clara on 31 august for doing “enemy journalism” and was forcibly escorted back to Havana. Oscar Sánchez Madan, a reporter for the Hablemos Press independent news agency, was arrested by three members of the National evolutionary Police (PNR) in the municipality of Cárdenas on 18 August while interviewing Leticia Ramos Herrería, a representative of the Ladies in White, a movement formed by the wives of political prisoners. “We deplore the Cuban government’s growing hostility towards the country’s independent media,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk. “The recent attempts to censor ‘unofficial’ media, especially during a natural disaster, are completely unproductive and reinforce self-censorship, which is very harmful for the entire country. The Cuban government should drop its ideological postures and help the independent media to develop instead of systematically opposing them.” There have been many cases of harassment in recent months, making independent reporting impossible. RSF has learned that four Hablemos Press members – director Roberto Jesús Guerra Pérez, deputy director Eduardo Herrera, executive director Magalay Otero Suárez and reporter Arian Guerra – had no choice but to leave Cuba at the end of September after repeated threats. Hablemos Press has been the target of harassment and arbitrary arrests for 13 years. Guerra Pérez told RSF he had been constantly harassed by the government in recent weeks in the form of comments by state employees in the street, telephone death threats or being repeatedly prevented from working. Now that he is in exile, he fears an illegal raid on the news agency’s headquarters in the coming weeks. The Centro de Información Legal (Cubalex), a Cuban NGO that defends media freedom, has been subjected to various forms of harassment –including searches, disconnected phone lines and humiliating interrogations – since it issued a report on free speech in Cuba and presented it to the United Nations in Geneva. The level of persecution of Cubalex got to the point that the office of the special rapporteur on freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued an alert on 13 October condemning the harassment. 14ymedio, the website found by Yoani Sánchez (an RSF media freedom heroine in 2014), revealed in an investigative report in September that Cuba’s state-owned telephone company Etecsa was blocking text messages containing the terms “human rights” or “hunger strike,” the name of the opposition magazine Convivencia, or the names of certain government opponents. At the same time, the list of websites that are blocked or are the target of cyber-attacks has lengthened this year and now includes such sites as Cubaencuentro and Martinoticias. Cuba is ranked 171st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index – the lowest position in Latin America. The arrests of journalists trying to inform fellow citizens about the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Matthew’s passage over eastern Cuba on 4 October are the latest example of how the Cuban government continues its harassment of independent journalism. Their reporting clearly did not please the authorities CubaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence Freedom of expression Receive email alerts Newscenter_img News CubaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence Freedom of expression New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council Follow the news on Cuba to go further News October 21, 2016 Crackdown on media includes ban on Hurricane Matthew coverage Help by sharing this information News October 12, 2018 Find out morelast_img read more

Harassment forces Novaya Gazeta to close regional bureau

first_img Organisation November 14, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Harassment forces Novaya Gazeta to close regional bureau June 2, 2021 Find out more News RSF_en RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” BelarusEurope – Central Asia News Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown center_img to go further Follow the news on Belarus Reporters Without Borders today condemned harassment of the independent biweekly Novaya Gazeta, which announced on 12 November that it has been forced to close its regional bureau in the southwestern city of Samara as result of the seizure of its sole remaining computer for alleged use of pirated software. The bureau produced a regional edition.“We deplore the insidious nature of the pressure being put on this newspaper, which has brought its regional bureau to a standstill,” the press freedom organisation said. “This closure is above all the result of a political will to bring the Russian press into line in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.”Reporters Without Borders added: “We reaffirm our support for Novaya Gazeta, whose problems in Samara are linked to a ‘March of the Dissenters’ in the city in May that was organised by the bureau chief’s daughter.”The bureau chief and editor of the Samara edition, Sergei Kurt-Adzhiyev, said the bureau had been operating under “critical” conditions for two months and that it was clear the authorities had wanted “to strangle the newspaper on the eve of the elections.” The harassment began with the seizure on three computers on 11 May, on the eve of the “March of the Dissenters.” Kurt-Adzhiyev’s own computer was confiscated on 8 November. Samara is 900 km southeast of Moscow.It has emerged that Kurt-Adzhiyev has been the target of a judicial investigation since 14 May for the alleged use of counterfeit software. He did not discover this until 17 October.The Samara bureau’s closure is not an isolated case. Novaya Gazeta’s Nizhny-Novgorod’s edition has also been paralysed since the seizure of software from its bureau on 29 August on a similar pretext.The use of pirated software is widespread in Russia and does not normally give rise to prosecutions. May 28, 2021 Find out more News BelarusEurope – Central Asia “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says News May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more