Being an independent news reporter in Cuba is a dangerous occupation. The Committee to Protect Journalists points out that Cuba was once tied with China for holding the largest number of journalists behind bars.
In 2003, dozens of journalists and dissidents were rounded up and sent to prison, for as long as 27 years. But last March, Cuba released the last of the 29 journalists imprisoned during what’s known as the "Black Spring" crackdown. No journalist has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term in the past year. The Catholic Church helped negotiate the releases, and next month, the Pope will visit Cuba.
So, does this indicate that, under Raul Castro, conditions for press freedoms and civil rights will improve? Host David Reed spoke with two guests to better understand the state of the media on the island nation, just 90 miles from the United States.
Carlos Lauria is a senior coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Lauria, an Argentinian working in New York, is responsible for monitoring, documenting and developing responses to press freedom violations in Latin America.
Gary Marx is an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune who was based in Havana before getting blacklisted by the Cuban government. Marx received the Inter-American Press Association Human Rights Award in 2004 for his coverage of Cuba’s Black Spring.