Oops, error 404

By Progreso Semanal

HAVANA TIMES — An article published last week by the Cienfuegos newspaper 5 de Septiembre, where the thoughts of several journalists and members of the newspaper’s board about their working conditions were published, was taken down from this newspaper’s website just a few hours later.

Their complaints, which were discussed during a meeting with the Cuban Journalists’ Association (UPEC) representatives at the newspaper, revolved around the poor infrastructure they had to work with (transport, fuel cuts, outdated equipment and around pay raises and incentives, which are still absent.

It isn’t the first time that public and state-owned media have taken down content from their websites. The attempt to make opinions and debates invisible has been reflected other times in similar cases.

This latest act of censorship comes when the Cuban Journalists’ Union still doesn’t have a law that regulates and protects their profession from this and other forms of arbitrariness. In spite of the fact that a future media law in Cuba was announced months ago and there is an official order to get it drafted and approved, but no document has been publicly discussed about this matter yet.

Even though the page has been taken off 5 de Septiembre’s website, the article was recovered using Google cache. The following is our translation:

Journalists Demand Better Working Conditions

By Roberto Alfonso Lara, October 3rd 2017

Working conditions for journalists at the 5 de Septiembre Publishing House, in Cienfuegos, have been classified “abusive”, within the framework of the debate about the role of the Cuban Journalists’ Association (UPEC) in representing the newspaper, preceding the 10th Congress of this organization in the country.

Adonis Subit Lami, the newspaper’s director, called the infrastructure available for workers to practice journalism “awful”, when referring to the critical transport situation, which is nearly non-esistent; the excessive cutbacks in fuel and energy, as well as the pending replacement of outdated equipment that still exists.

To that effect, he said “it’s necessary to change the way that Cuba’s media is managed, with the aim to bring about a comprehensive transformation in how it works.” An event has been announced to take place in November that will deal with this, where projects on management models will be put forward by several media outlets.

During the exchange with UPEC leaders in the province and nationwide, reporters from “5 de Septiembre” insisted on the need pay increases and incentives, a concern that has been repeated at various union meetings, without a solution in sight.

Mercedes Caro, the head of the publication’s editorial office, questioned the evaluations used to assess journalists’ work via an old resolution that established payment methods. She claimed that “this makes up one of the most fundamental issues about what we call attention to our conclave.”

Yudith Madrazo Sosa, a journalist, advocated for the “approval of another regulation, which would be more exact in terms of indicators established for wages,” without leaving space for ambiguities or arbitrary decisions.

At the end of the UPEC meeting at the 5 de Septiembre Press office, in Cienfuegos, its executive committee was changed and candidates for the 10th UPEC Congress in Cuba were put forward.