This blog may be filtered by the Cuban government
Open any newspaper on any day and you will almost certainly read an article thats criticising the government in one way or another. Whether it be the governments stance on immigration, on the economy or even on the human rights of serving UK soldiers were likely to see an opinion piece or news piece attacking the government.
Its hard to imagine then that in Cuba a country that more and more Brits are visiting as tourists that if journalists or bloggers dare to speak out against the government they could find themselves locked up for 20 years.
Amnestys new Cuba report published today draws attention to that very issue. It highlights that Cuban laws restricting free expression or opinion are so vague that they give wide-ranging powers to the authorities to arrest and detain journalists and critics of the government. The Penal Code includes terms such as social dangerousness, enemy propaganda, contempt of authority and defamation of national institutions.
Needless to say this makes life particularly difficult for the hundreds in Cuba who do try to speak out. For a while now the Cuban blogosphere has provided the alternative for people to freely express their opinions. Pablo Pacheco, blogging from prison, considered it to be an excellent form of free alternative communication. But recently the authorities have clamped down on blogs as well, by setting up filters which deny access to blogs which criticise the government.
In our recommendations in todays report, Amnestys calling on the Cuban authorities to ease restrictions on freedom of expression to enable all Cubans their basic human right to freely express their opinions.
Were also urging the government to release the 53 prisoners of conscience which remain in jail, one of whom is Pablo Pacheco an independent journalist sentenced to 20 years in prison after being arrested in March 2003. Amnesty is actively campaigning for his release. You can find out more about Pablo here.
This blog may well be filtered out by Cuban authorities for people in Cuba. But Im simply exercising a right which we take for granted but which is denied to hundreds of Cubans. A basic right for which bloggers in Cuba would do anything for. Even go to jail.
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.