A newly proposed amendment to the penal code of Cuba criminalizes funding for independent journalism. An article published by CPJ recommends the rejection of this amendment by the National Assembly of Cuba. Here is an excerpt:
Cuba’s National Assembly should reject a proposed amendment to the penal code that risks criminalizing funding for independent journalists and media organizations, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On January 20, Cuba’s Supreme Tribunal proposed a bill amending the penal code to prohibit Cuban citizens from receiving foreign funding, a move that could be used to silence independent journalists and outlets who rely on this type of funding to operate, according to news reports and Laritza Diversent, executive director of Cubalex, a nonprofit Cuban organization that provides free legal assistance, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
“The amendment to Cuba’s penal code barring Cubans from receiving foreign funding could have catastrophic effects on journalists and media outlets on the island,” said Ana Cristina Núñez, CPJ’s Latin American and the Caribbean senior researcher. “In a country where private media is illegal and journalists have no possibility of obtaining local funding, prohibiting foreign funding is a death sentence to independent journalism.”
Article 143 of the bill, which CPJ reviewed, sanctions any individual who, for themselves or on behalf of a non-governmental organization or other entity, provides, receives, or has in their possession funds, material, or financial resources from a local person or entity or a foreign state “with the purpose of engaging in activities against the State or its constitutional order.” Violating the article can carry a 10-year prison sentence.
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