Bad Handwriting in La Joven Cuba (22)

As you know, for some months I have commented in the blog of the Matanzas University students, but the dynamic of both of us having low connectivity to the Internet has meant that in recent weeks I’ve posted brief commentaries without having been able to read the posts at leisure. The one I will refer to today, “My press and my country,” from the journalism student Alberto M. Leon Pacheco, appeared on December 12, and deserves attention beyond the commentary I posted, in particular to thank him for the post.

As he himself acknowledged, the people around him, knowing the subject he is studying, asked if he would also tell lies; in the best case, they warned him, he would not be able to say whatever he wanted.

For me these works condense the current problem of the Cuban press, and confirm that this is the view the Cuban people have of the press. The young man complains about the lack of understanding of those who don’t know how the editing process works to make digestible news that isn’t news, or how to speak abut the campaign for the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States without falling into cliches.

It’s clear that his youth leads him to question the importance of this or that directive, but he accepts them as the toll to enter the world of journalism. This, he only laments that “the bosses who take control in each medium — the information officers, media directors, page editors, among others — prefer not to publish uncomfortable works to keep their jobs or to not cause ‘ideological’ problems.”

“Unfortunately, many of the decision makers have joined the system, the mentality of a besieged country that has done so much damage to Cuba. With the justification not to giving ammunition to the enemy, we have nurtured a secrecy that is now very difficult to banish.”

Alberto, and others like him, from the commitment to their profession, are the ones charged with reporting any official who refuses to give information to the press, any newspaper director who tries to tell them what to write about or to veto their work. We see that Alberto has done his homework, so he knows that where an open and inquisitive press exist, no corrupt person is safe. In Cuba the press does not carry out investigations; on a good day they put a stack of papers on the desk well screened from a closed investigation, and the journalist should only give shape to that information.

Hopefully the Albertos of this country will put the press in the position of the so-called Fourth Power. Clearly, in Cuba this would cause confusion because of the imprecision of the three powers that came before.

December 19 2011

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