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As US-Cuba relations thaw, what's next for the island's independent press?

Poster in Havana shows images of Barack Obama and Raul Castro and reads
Poster in Havana shows images of Barack Obama and Raul Castro and reads "Welcome to Cuba"

REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

The following is an excerpt from a CPJ blog post by Carlos Lauría,CPJ Program Director and Americas Senior Program coordinator:

"Our hope is that President Obama will meet journalists working for the alternative media, not just to cover his visit, but to start a dialogue," said Elaine Díaz Rodríguez, director of Periodismo de Barrio (Neighborhood Journalism) a website focusing on climate change and the impact of natural disasters on local communities. Díaz, who last year became the first Cuban journalist to receive a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University, said such an encounter with Obama would validate journalism in the island nation. "It won't resolve our problems, but it will boost our legitimacy and reduce our vulnerabilities," she told CPJ on the phone from Havana.

When Obama arrives in Cuba next week for an historic visit--the first by a sitting U.S. president since 1928--he will find a media landscape that has greatly developed over the past decade. While the emergence of the independent Cuban blogosphere can be traced to early 2007, when the first few blogs were written under pseudonyms, in the past five years the field has experienced a dramatic change, CPJ has found. Press freedom advocates and Cuban journalists with whom CPJ spoke, point to Yoani Sánchez, the 40-year-old founder of Generación Y, as a pioneer in this blogging community.

Read the full post on CPJ's site.

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