The decision of the Cuban authorities to withdraw the press credentials of the EFE Agency team on the island last night, on the eve of the banned civic march on Monday 15 to demand political change, has provoked a cascade of reactions both political and from organizations for the defense of freedom of the press and journalistic media.
Today the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the charge d’affaires of the Cuban embassy in Madrid, the head of the legation in the absence of an ambassador, to request explanations about this measure, which Cuba is taking for the first time towards the Efe Agency and which there is no record of having been adopted on another occasion with an international news agency.
In addition, the Spanish embassy in Havana is making arrangements with the Cuban authorities to return the credentials to Efe journalists so that they can carry out their work, official sources said.
The heads of the International Press Center of Cuba called this Saturday urgently the Efe team currently accredited in Havana – three editors, a photographer and a TV camera – to inform them that their credentials were being withdrawn, without clarifying whether the measure is temporary or permanent.
The provision was adopted a month and a half after the accreditation of Efe’s editorial coordinator in Havana was withdrawn.
The island authorities warned the Efe team that it cannot carry out its journalistic work from now on, and they did not want to clarify the exact reasons for making this decision.
The president of the Efe Agency, Gabriela Cañas, said she hopes that the Government of Cuba “reconsiders” to return the press accreditations withdrawn to the journalists of this medium.
“The Cuban authorities have withdrawn the accreditations from the Efe Noticias team in Havana. We hope that the Government will reconsider. The Efe Agency is an objective and responsible medium that has been reporting on the island for more than 40 years and does not understand the reasons behind it. this measure, “Cañas wrote on Twitter.
Also the former president of the Efe Agency Fernando Garea has described this measure on Twitter as “terrible news for Cuba, for Spain and for freedom.”
The Editorial Board of the EFE Agency, the body that supervises the informants of this medium, has expressed its support for the workers of its delegation in Havana and asks for the return of their press credentials to be able to do their work without restrictions.
The Council, made up of five EFE journalists chosen by their colleagues to defend the agency’s principles of independence and public service, has sent a message to the professionals of its office in Havana affected by this measure by the Cuban authorities, with a “solidarity hug”.
The European Union requested this Sunday “clarifications” from the Cuban authorities after the withdrawal of press credentials from the EFE team in Havana, which it believes could mean a “serious violation of freedom of expression.”
“We have seen the information. We are investigating it and requesting clarifications from the Cuban authorities and we are in contact with Efe, ”Nabila Massrali, spokesperson for the EU’s high representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, told EFE.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) also condemned the measure and considered it an “unacceptable attack on freedom of information.”
On Twitter, Reporters Without Borders urged that EFE’s accreditations be restored in Cuba and asked the Spanish government to intercede, in addition to warning that it will closely monitor the safety of EFE’s Cuban journalists.
The Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain (FAPE) also requested the mediation of the Government of Pedro Sánchez so that Cuba “reconsiders” this measure.
In a note, the FAPE “flatly” rejects this decision of the Cuban Government, considering it a “clear violation of international standards on freedom of the press” and requests the Spanish Government to “take the mediation steps it deems appropriate so that Cuba reconsider the measure. “
“This measure is an attack on freedom of expression and information and tries to prevent Efe journalists from continuing to report on the situation in Cuba with the professionalism, rigor and impartiality with which the Spanish agency has always been working,” says the president. of the FAPE, Nemesio Rodríguez.
The network of women communicators of International ACM condemned “strongly” the decision of the Government of Cuba and from Rome, the World Association of Women Journalists and Writers (AMMPE) asked its associates “to make their voice heard” in the face of what it considered “a serious attack on freedom of the press “.
“We ask our associates around the world, especially in Latin America, to make their voices heard before this measure, which we consider a serious attack on press freedom,” adds the AMMPE, created in 1969 in Mexico City and whose headquarters current is in Rome.
The Association of International Press Correspondents in Chile (ACPI) expressed its solidarity with the EFE Agency “in the face of the inexcusable abuse of press freedom – a fundamental right – that its professionals have suffered in Cuba.”
Several international media, such as Reuters or Euronews, reported on the withdrawal of accreditations from EFE in Cuba.