An Almost an Impossible Chimera / Regina Coyula

Freedom of information is an issue that has recently been addressed in the press about Cuba with regards to a statement by Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel at a seminar on education. And I mention the press about Cuba and not the press of Cuba, because the words of the Cuban Vice President were reported by the official press avoiding the pitfall that refers to the quality of … the official press.

The free flow of information has been mentioned cyclically with nuances and more or less presence over the fifty-some years of single party government. But not even in its stagnation can the government deny the impact of the technological revolution that has put global news a click  away from a mobile phone.

I won’t try to analyze the technological gap that supposedly backed this revolution for the sake of ideological purity. That same ideological purity has made our “information” media a vehicle of propaganda, and has converted economic setbacks into political victories, to distort national and foreign history.

I won’t mention the responsibility of the U.S. government in denying Cuba access to ocean cables, because any careful reader will make the documented observation in this web 2.0 of bidirectional flow.

Much has been said about Telesur in recent times. And although the multinational has its own news bias, we Cubans have been able to glance at another form of news. After comparison, the Cuban television news,  in addition to being stingy with the news, appears outdated, ancient, tacky. “Dossier”, one of the flagship programs of the chain, prior to Telesur being broadcast on Cuban television (although it was on 24 hour delay), also has an antiquated air if we compare it to the touch screens and the correspondents and hosts who interact from the four corners of the world.

I do not know what will be the fate of Telesur, the millionaire project funded mostly by the Venezuelan government, but if it ended tomorrow, we Cubans could watch the news. At least we could watch more news.

Returning to the words of Díaz-Canel, the challenge would be to put the government information system at the level to meet the demands of modern society, considering that internet access will become more and faster, and still prioritizing the socially beneficial internet that excludes the society as a whole, through this same information path it will be everywhere in a matter of hours.

Could the official media journalists actively move their practice to this other practice, that would be novel for Cubans but is the norm in world news today? If I open the newspaper Granma, if I tune in the TV news, I think that for many of them it’s too late, because they don’t know how to do it differently.

But the cardinal issue is that, if the political will gathered in the last Party Congress (three years ago!) existed, they would have replaced the leadership of an exclusive news station like Radio Reloj, they would have removed the current directors of the newspaper and television news.

But they are there, no one has bothered them and they in their turn have not bothered to introduce changes in their field of work because where information policy is decided, where is it known that “with the development of information technologies, the social networks, computers and the Internet, to prohibit something is almost an impossible chimera,” (the words of Diaz-Canel, the emphasis mine), clinging while they can to that almost so that even with the change, everything remains the same.

From Diario de Cuba.

14 May 2013