Press Freedom in the Americas

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere held a hearing on "Press Freedom in the Americas."

Here's an excerpt from the testimony of the Committee to Protect Journalist's Executive Director, Joel Simon:

"I would like to talk about Cuba, which is far and away the most repressive environment for the press in Latin America. In fact, Cuba is one of the most repressive countries in the world in this regard.
There are 22 journalists currently jailed in Cuba, which means the country ranks third behind Iran and China. There was some modest hope after Fidel Castro stepped aside in 2006 that conditions for the media would improve, but that has not happened under President Raúl Castro. Cuba has seen the emergence of an incipient blogging culture which, for now, has been tolerated. We commend President Obama for giving an e-mail interview to Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez shortly after she was detained and beaten by Cuban security agents in November. The CPJ report, titled 'Chronicling Cuba, bloggers offer fresh hope,' has been entered into the record.

Efforts by the United States government to protect and promote press freedom are vital because we live in an information society. Those who are deprived of basic information are in essence marginalized. The freedom to seek and receive information is not only a human right it; is a prerequisite for full participation in the global economy."