MEXICO CITY – The Inter American Press Association, or IAPA, called on the Cuban government Monday to end its strict controls over Internet access and digital platforms.
As it wrapped up its 72nd General Assembly in Mexico City, the IAPA urged Havana to “no longer make Cuba one of the most repressive countries in the world when it comes to the Internet and online media, and that it cease to resist the wave of change in communications and technology.”
The Cuban government and its agencies have “stepped up their criticism and threats ... in response to the growth of journalism that is independent of the government, especially in new online platforms,” the regional press group said.
This has resulted in “arbitrary arrests, citations by police, threatening interrogations and seizures of work equipment,” the IAPA said.
New technologies are giving a voice to dissenting opinions, but large obstacles still remain in the use of the Internet, the regional press group said.
“A large number of journalists, most of them independent, were arrested during the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Cuba” earlier this year, the IAPA said.
Cuba’s independent media have been affected by two opposite phenomena – censorship and growth – this year, said the IAPA, which represents the owners of more than 1,300 media outlets.