Harassment of Cuban journalists on rise

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has warned about a new wave of threats and harassment against Cuban journalists.

The independent news agency Hablemos Press posted a YouTube video about increased arrests of journalists. Photographer Gerardo Younel Ávila was detained twice this year, editor Ernesto Aquino was cited by authorities, and two other journalists were threatened with jail time in the past two months.

Also during the month of June journalist Guillermo Fariñas was attacked by police and the blogger Alexis Ferrer, a Cuban living abroad, was expelled from the island.

The director of the news agency, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, said he suspected that the increased oppression of journalists is a result of the agency's publication and distribution of a news bulletin, IAPA said. Pérez, however, said his team will continue working to "break the wall of silence that the government has put in place in order to keep the Cuban people censored."

International organizations also have criticized the increase in repression and harassment of the oppoosition, especially against journalists, bloggers, and the group Ladies in White, IAPA said.

Each year, Cuba is listed among the countries with the worst censorship, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Also, 19 Cuban journalists have been forced into exile since 2007.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.