Internet Censorship in Cuba

18 02 2010

In the context of considering censorship, aside from internet censorship, Cuba is a country that stands out historically. Since October of 1960, America has imposed a trade embargo on the communist country in retaliation to the expropriation of United States’ Cuban acquisitions and continued political disagreements. With the development of technology Cuba has expanded its censorship to encompass internet use as well. After reading an article, Blogs and Correspondence: Lessons about Global Information Flows by Rebecca MacKinon, I related the similar circumstances between Cuba and China.

As in China, Cubans are expected to behave a certain way on the internet. Cubans are expected to avoid stories of unrest /disaster or anything of political disinterest. Cubans do not have to pledge self discipline to use the internet as the Chinese do, however journalists that report on topics that go against the interests of the government are commonly persecuted.

In order to access the internet Cubans must acquire a special permit from the government and even then access is still restricted and monitored. Furthermore access is inhibited by the availability of computers and internet access. Until recently Cubans were not allowed to own computers, though they were available on the black market. Cuba takes a bit more of an extreme approach to regulating access, but the similarities with China’s regulating of the internet are notable.

Bridge bloggers have emerged from Cuba, as well as in China. The term bridge bloggers is defined by Hossein Derakhshan as emerging bloggers that connect and share information with foreigners. Yoani Sanchez is a pronounced Cuban bridge blogger with public attention from people such as the president of the United States, Barack Obama. However when considering bridge bloggers from censored countries it is important to take into consideration that the blogs are restricted view as to what the government allows bloggers to say (without being arrested).

With access to only a confined and controlled source of information it is not surprising to find that a lot of Western news coverage sources provide arguably unbalanced/hampered reporting as they are often forced to come to their own conclusions. Bridge bloggers are only so reliable after one excogitates the circumstances of their positions.




One response

27 02 2010
Rachael Sullivan

Good post, Drew. Very helpful definition of “bridge bloggers” and great info on the censorship of Cuba’s internet. It’s incredible to think of a government restricting citizens from purchasing computers! From an American perspective, that is striking. I like the structure of your post, with the nice introduction and good specific points to support the comparison between Cuba and China. I do have a few suggestions. As a quick fix, you want to link outside sources to relevant words in the actual post. For example, you would link “Until recently” to the BBC article and cut the parenthetical “(BBC).” Only list references at the end of a post if those references are not available on the web. As another general tip, try not to include dead links in web writing. You also might want to proofread your posts more carefully. You have a typo in the title and some other typos like since/sense. Finally, your first sentence could be stronger, since “In the context of considering censorship, aside from internet censorship” sounds a bit redundant or confusing. Thanks for a revealing post with a great, eye-catching image. The image makes Cuba appear so inviting, but as you explain in your post, Cuba is competition for China in the field of internet censorship.

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