The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Pedro Vaca, condemned this Sunday the withdrawal of credentials by the Cuban Government to the team of journalists of the Efe Agency in Havana, a measure that he described from “capricious and arbitrary”.
“Based on the information we have so far, this decision to withdraw credentials from the Efe team is between capricious and arbitrary insofar as there is no reason (for it) and it has very serious effects,” Vaca told Efe by phone. .
The Cuban authorities withdrew on Saturday, without prior notice, the press credentials of Efe journalists on the island, on the eve of the outlawed civic march called for this Monday.
“The arbitrariness in this type of decision is something that is condemned and one invites the authorities to reconsider,” added Vaca, who said that the island’s government perceives “a lack of understanding of what is happening.”
For this reason, he added, “what better way to understand what is happening on the island than by allowing independent journalists with a high level of rigor such as those that characterize Efe’s processes to be ‘in situ'”.
The Cuban authorities today restored the press accreditations to only two of the Efe journalists who were withdrawn, a return that the agency described as insufficient.
The International Press Center (CPI) of Cuba communicated this decision to an editor and a cameraman from the Havana delegation just a few hours after the press accreditation was withdrawn from all the workers of that delegation – three editors, one photographer and a TV cameraman, as well as a collaborating photographer.
INTERNATIONAL PRESS NEEDED
According to the IACHR’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, “the presence of Efe and of any international correspondent should be something that is greeted, not something that is obstructed or something that is frustrated.”
“It is a terrible message for the international community that these types of episodes are presented, it is a regressive message that sows many doubts about the guarantees for journalistic coverage in Cuba,” he added.
In Vaca’s opinion, “this abrupt withdrawal of credentials” is part of “a phenomenon of multidimensional censorship” that is registered in Cuba.
This decision against Efe “occurs in a context in which limitations, restrictions and obstructions to the normal functioning of the Internet are reported, and for Cuban journalists there are also levels of registration and police surveillance in their residences,” he said.
“In addition, in this case, there is the withdrawal of credentials to an international medium that is a medium (…) that has had a presence and coverage, that has all levels of credibility and rigor, which I am also highly appreciated by the Rapporteurship. (on Freedom of the Press of the IACHR), “he added.
Vaca described the Cuban government’s decision as “serious” and “delicate” due to the implications it may have on the way what happens on the island is told, and added: “I think it has an intimidating effect on the rest of the agencies and for the rest of international correspondents “.
“The work of the international press is transcendental,” said the rapporteur, adding that it is particularly serious “to withdraw credentials from a medium with as much experience as Efe. We are not talking about a new medium, we are not talking about a medium that does not have editorial processes; we are talking about an absolutely serious medium, one of the most important agencies with a presence in the region, “he said. EFE
joc / ime / laa