Official Cuban Newspaper Complains About Transparency

18 July 2011

The Cuban newspaper Granma July 8 wrote an editorial criticizing the “innumerable and illogical obstacles” used to stop journalists from gaining access to information.

The article (in Spanish) cited President Raul Castro’s words at the 6th Party Congress in April, where he said that ‘all information should be put on the table along with the reasons for each decision’ and that ‘the excess of secrecy should be suppressed’.

Entitled “The Right to Information,”  the article said some state secrets “require a different treatment,” but described the difficulties of getting information on matters “of understandable interest to the public,” such as those related to the economy.

The paper criticizes the “lack of understanding on the part of many administrative officials, who seem oblivious to the rights of citizens and to the irritation it causes them when the reasons for a phenomenon or a measure are not explained in a timely way,” according to report carried on a Fox News account.

Fox continued: “For Granma it is “incredible and even irritating that to interview a student at his school, the authorization of a deputy minister is required as something totally indispensable” or that the official Communist Party daily has to get ministerial permission to take photos of a public event.”

“Providing systematic, truthful and diverse information that allows an approach to reality from all of the complex angles that can be offered doesn’t constitute a favor, but a right of the people,” according to the article.

A subsequent commentary on the article by Fernando Ravsberg, heard on BBC Mundo, and translated in the Havana Times,called the editorial “an important first step towards the attainment of the type of journalism that God sends and Cuba needs.”

But the commentator also took Granma to task, complaining of “the passive and obedient attitude of the newspaper that remains silent and sits around waiting for official permission before accessing information and disclosing it.”

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