The Cuban Regime Signs the Social Communication Law One Year After Approving It

The rule formally penalizes the mere interaction of users on social networks / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 5 June 2025 — The Cuban Government “officially” presented this Wednesday the Social Communication Law, signed on May 25, one year after it was approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power. The text, included in the Official Gazette with minimal changes with respect to the last draft published, is accompanied by two regulations that complement it, one for the Law itself and another for the exercise of advertising and sponsorship, whose obligations are also included in the same law.

In a presentation to the government media, the vice president of the Institute of Information and Social Communication, Onelio Castillo, who was also a member of the drafting committee of the Law, said that the rule “has the spirit of dialogue and supports the political will of the nation that defines social communication as a pillar of its development.”

However, from Article 5, it is clear what the regime understands by that ‘spirit of dialogue’ and that ‘political will’: “The Social Communication System acts in accordance with the socialist state of law and social justice, democratic, independent and sovereign, expression of the thought and example of Martí and Fidel and the ideas of social emancipation of Marx, Engels and Lenin.”

Numerous independent activists and journalists have seen their work denounced in official programs precisely under these accusations

Likewise, some of the purposes of the law are explicit, and far from the functions of social communication in a democracy, such as “to contribute to the fulfillment of legality, the strengthening of legal culture and institutions, the defense of public heritage, the protection of the environment and the promotion of social discipline; to promote an emancipatory thought that sustains the continuity of the socialist project of a nation and critically confronts the offensive of cultural colonization,” and “to contribute to the prevention, timely confrontation and mitigation of crisis situations.”

As also stated in the draft released last year, the new rule, another of whose objectives is to “stimulate the inclusive, ethical, responsible and safe use of the internet, as a way for the defense and consolidation of socialist society,” formally penalizes the mere interaction of users on social networks.

In its chapter IV, which addresses social communication in cyberspace, it provides that the people covered by the law (all, as specified in article 2) must “respond to the content they generate, select, modify, interact with and publish.”

Some of the characteristics that disseminated content must have, according to Article 13, are reasonable, such as having to “check, contextualize and contrast as a guarantee of veracity,” adhere to “ethics and responsibility” and “observe the rules of the Spanish language.” But along with this, it tackles: “The contents in no case can be used with the aim of subverting the constitutional order and destabilizing the socialist state of law and social justice, sustaining the communicational aggression that takes place against the country or instigating terrorism and war in any of its forms and manifestations, including those of cyberwarfare.”

Numerous activists and independent journalists have seen their work denounced in official programs such as Hacemos Cuba or Con Filo precisely under these accusations.

The Social Communication Law does not detail the possible sanctions that would apply from violating these precepts and vaguely refers to other legal instruments (“Non-compliance with what is regulated in the preceding article implies the requirement of responsibility, in accordance with the laws and other regulatory provisions”). In the Criminal Code approved in 2022, for example, the punishment of ten years in prison is provided for anyone who receives funds or finances “activities against the State and its constitutional order,” something similar to some of the provisions of the Social Communication Law.

The Social Communication Law does not include the possible sanctions that would apply to violating these precepts and vaguely refers to other legal instruments

The regulation that accompanies the rule does not refer to these infractions but to others and is understood as administrative, such as “exposing messages on public or external roads on any medium, with content not approved or without complying with the corresponding tax obligation; disrespecting in the contents the rights of girls, boys and adolescents, older adults and those who are in a situation of disability; disseminating discriminatory content,” and “managing and socializing content through a serial publication or website that is not inscribed in the registry enabled for such purposes.”

The management of this registry, according to the Law, is handled by the Cuban Institute of Information and Social Communication, created in 2023.

As for advertising and sponsorship, something that the official press has already begun to incorporate, there is no change with respect to the draft. Section II of the Law provides that although the fundamental financing of social media comes from the State, these “media can assume different forms of economic management” (state or private, it infers) and “can complement the financial and material assurance of their activities with the commercialization inside and outside the country of their productions and services, the sale of advertising spaces, sponsorship, national and international cooperation projects and other ways, all legally recognized, provided that the fulfillment of their public function is not compromised.”

Of course, in order for the medium to benefit from this, “it requires the endorsement of its owner and the approval of the agencies of the Central Administration of the State in accordance with their respective competences,” and in any case they must receive funds “whose origin does not aim to subvert the constitutional order established in the country.”

According to the provisions of the legal document itself, the Law will enter into force 120 days after it is signed; that is, in August.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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