Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cuba tries to reboot its creaky state news apparatus

Cuba tries to reboot its creaky state news apparatus
Associated Press March 15, 2017

HAVANA (AP) — The Cuban government is trying to reboot its Soviet-era
style news programming with a high-definition current affairs channel
staffed by young journalists.

The Caribe channel is starting slowly, with 3½ hours of offerings a
night on a new channel available to a few hundred thousand viewers who
have bought high-definition decoder boxes.

Producers say they hope to eventually expand to nearly round-the-clock
programming. That's a niche currently occupied only by Telesur, a
regional news channel financed by leftist Latin American governments.

Caribe channel producers say their programming premiering Tuesday night
will be less dogmatic and more openly critical than traditional Cuban
state television, whose reporting rarely goes beyond repeating
communiques from government ministries. Cuban state media are facing
increasing competition from more widely available online sources as
internet access expands.

"Now we're going to be able to reflect the needs of the people in the
news," said Karina del Valle, a 24-year-old presenter on a Caribe
current-affairs show.

Like many of the country's state outlets, Caribe journalists will
include many recent graduates eager to modernize official media that
have become irrelevant to most young Cubans. But content remains almost
entirely under the control of Communist Party ideological monitors and a
crippling government cash shortage means the channel has few resources.

"Our great challenge is really making this a reality," said Ovidio
Cabrera Garcia, director-general of Cuban television. "We don't want to
create great expectations."


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