Feb 232007
 

As if we needed more proof that freedom of speech and the press are anathema to communist dictatorships like the one in Cuba, we get this from the Associated Press:

Cuban press authorities have told the Havana correspondents for the Chicago Tribune, the BBC and a major Mexican newspaper that they can no longer report from the island.

The Chicago Tribune said correspondent Gary Marx, based in the country since 2002, was told Wednesday that his stories were too negative. His press credentials were not renewed during an annual process, and he and his family were given 90 days to leave Cuba, the newspaper said.

The Mexican newspaper El Universal said Cesar Gonzalez Calero, its Havana reporter since 2003, was told this week his credentials would not be renewed. Authorities told him his reporting was “not the most convenient for the Cuban government,” the reporter said, adding he would be allowed to remain in Cuba as the husband of a Spanish journalist.

The British Broadcasting Corp. was “talking to the authorities in Havana about the status of its Cuba correspondent after his accreditation was withdrawn,” spokeswoman Karen Rosine said Friday in a statement from London. Without naming correspondent Stephen Gibbs, Rosine said he “remains in Cuba, pending the outcome of these discussions.”

It was refreshing to see journalistic organizations condemn the move by Castro:

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also expressed concern over the measures.

“We are dismayed by the Cuban government’s decision to effectively ban two well-respected journalists from doing their jobs by not renewing their press credentials,” said Carlos Lauria, the group’s Americas program coordinator.

“The decision comes in clear reprisal for their independent reporting. We urge the Cuban government to review its decision and allow the journalists to continue reporting from Cuba.”

The Inter-American Press Association said it also condemned the measures, calling them “another manifestation of the arbitrary handling of freedom of expression and press in that country.”

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