Tuesday, June 4, 2013



By: Alicia Taisey
Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

HAVANA, CUBA _­When a foreign journalist receives an assignment in Cuba, his task can seem limited by the Cuban government, whose local reporters cannot stray from regulations imposed by the state.
Although foreign reporters, with audiences outside Cuba, do not have to adhere as tightly to regulations as their local counterparts, they still feel the weight of the state bearing down.

Marc Frank, an economic correspondent assigned to Cuba by the international news agency Reuters said that being a foreign journalist for Cuba is very different.
Even when reporters for Reuters uncover a story in Cuba, getting a source to comment can prove nearly impossible.
 “It is hard to get official sources,” said Rosa Tania Valdés, one of the correspondents assigned to Cuba by Reuters. “Even if you have a good story, you have to get confirmation.”
“You need to develop friends and contacts so you can talk to someone,” added Frank.
Many of the sources that foreign journalists rely on are government officials although they do not necessarily have to be named in the story. “Cuba is the only country you do not have to name the sources,” said Frank.
The embargo has also significantly affected the amount of information that can get out of the country. This is due to the Cuban government regulations which do not allow U.S. news agency’s to report to the Cuban population.
Many Cubans though do not see the embargo as a problem anymore. “We laugh at it.” said Valdés.  It’s ridiculous because it is related with the past,” she added.
A lot of issues can arise while being a foreign journalist in Cuba as well. There are limited resources which make it challenging to report on a story.
“It depends on the story and sometimes you cannot always get around it,” said Roberto Leόn, a cameraman for NBC here in Cuba. He also stated that it can be hard to find a solution so you have to be creative.
Issues that can arise may include things such as lack of video tapes or even batteries.
For Cuban journalism itself, reporters are supposed to write stories in support for the revolution.
“Foreign journalists don’t work for the Cuban government though, so they don’t need to follow their regulations,” said Leόn.
“They are still able to report on anything they want, but there are definitely those lines they will not cross,” he added.
Foreign journalists must adhere to moral standards in order to not cross these lines. As Valdés stated, “It is an ideological job to be a journalist in Cuba.”  
Nevertheless, while being a foreign journalist in Cuba, one may encounter several obstacles when reporting a story. One thing is certain though, the goal of any type of journalist is to research a story and get it out to the audience. 

No comments:

Post a Comment