Relationship & Tension With Cuba Lessens But How Will That Impact Journalists?

flagIn today’s historic agreement between our country and Cuba, relations with that country  have certainly made strides.

In addition to easing up on travel restrictions (not for tourists but primarily for humanitarian, religious, cultural or athletic purposes), it sounds like journalism restrictions will be eased up as well. Per a blog post on the Society of Professional Journalists’ site, strict entrance requirements for journalists on assignment have been in place since 1961.

President Obama revealed in today’s broadcast overall, “These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.”

In the past, journos needed expressed permission from governments on both sides and then they were told to carry an approved or stamped media pass from — you guessed it — their employer. Oh, wait there’s more. They also needed to carry a few copies of clips to demonstrate their employment. As for freelancers, they had to carry a signed letter from their assigning editor indicating they were on assignment with a specific goal.

Per the post, it’s not clear right now how restrictions will change but considering today’s news, we’re thinking the door is indeed opening. That said, as pointed out in the piece, attitudes may not be that quick to change in Cuba. Some journalists from other countries have been accused of terrorism or beaten while others are still detained there.

Keep this in mind — Cuban president Raul Castro spoke in Cuba today and indicated to his country that the deal doesn’t exactly mean there will be any changes internally with the country’s policies. “This shows we can resolve our differences without renouncing a single one of our principles.” Fidel’s brother added, ” This shows we can solve many of our problems and live in a civilized manner with our differences.”