Cuban Faces of 2016: Elaine Díaz, Director of ‘Neighborhood Journalism’ / 14ymedio

Elaine Díaz, director of Neighborhood Journalism. (Citizen Journalism)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 December 2016 — Cuban Faces of 2016: Elaine Díaz graduated with a degree in Journalism from the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana in 2008, she has worked as an assistant professor and maintains the blog La Polémica Digital (The Digital Debate). In an episode of the series Cuba’s Reasons, broadcast by officialdom to demonize critical voices, the reporter was presented by way of a counterpart to independent bloggers, who were defined in the program as “cyberterrorists.”

Díaz was the first Cuban woman to win a Nieman Fellowship in investigative journalism at Harvard University, and last year launched the site Periodismo de Barrio (Neighborhood Journalism), a publications centered on communities affected by natural disasters and others occasioned by the hand of man. Her site has been harshly criticized by officialdom, which has questioned how it is financed and the use of fundraising campaigns through Paypal.

In October this year Diaz was arrested with her team in Baracoa while reporting from areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. All were questioned, their belongings meticulously searched and they were deported to the capital. The authorities alluded to an alleged state of emergency in the east of the island.

In an editorial published later, Periodismo de Barrio denounced that, “There are no good and bad monopolies Any monopolization, made by the State, a person or a corporation, just curtails freedoms,” a reference to government control over all press media permitted in the country.