World Press Freedom Day: where does Cuba sit?
World Press Freedom Day on 3 May spotlights Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
According to the UN, “media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. This can only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.”
The map from Reporters Without Borders looks beautiful, but it paints an unattractive picture of press freedom around the world. The picture is especially ugly for Cuba, which has been ranked 170 out of 180 countries assessed and placed in the worst category of “very serious situation”.
Cuba watchers will know that there have been many positive changes in the country over the last few years, including the lifting of restrictions on travel abroad, buying and selling cars and houses, and on private enterprise. There is now limited (although expensive) internet access in government-run cafes and on certain mobiles. These changes have made a huge difference to the lives of many Cubans and must be recognised and applauded.
However, many of the conclusions reached in a 2010 Amnesty report called Restrictions on freedom of expression in Cuba remain valid. The Cuban state retains a virtual monopoly of press and broadcast media, and anyone who expresses views critical of the government runs the risk of harassment, arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.