Independent Media In The Firing Line In Cuba

Independent media in the firing line in Cuba

Havana, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Feb, 2020 ) :Monica Baro's investigation into cases of lead poisoning in Havana won her a prestigious Latin American journalism award but few friends in the Cuban government, which views independent media outlets like hers with growing suspicion.

Baro's report for the Periodismo de Barrio website -- which won Colombia's Gabo award for journalism -- took two years to pull together and a further six months to fact-check, but has helped throw light on the difficulties facing Cuba's independent media.

"Maybe in a less hostile context this investigation could have been done, written and revised in a year, but here everything is much more complicated," said the 31-year-old, seated on a sofa in her apartment which doubles as her office.

When she first heard reports of lead poisoning in the teeming district of San Miguel del Padron in 2016, Baro went to meet the locals to hear their story. Many were too afraid to speak to her and information was scarce.

Most official sources gave her the cold shoulder. Instead, while working away on $2-an-hour public wifi, she said she feared being threatened and harassed.

Cuba is ranked 168 out of 180 countries for press freedom by Reporters without Borders (RSF). Independent journalism is officially illegal, though tolerated to an extent, ensuring bloggers are constantly walking a legal tightrope.

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