Updated, May 11, 2010.
Monday, May 3, is World Press Freedom Day.
As a journalist, I remember my colleagues around the world who suffer because they dare to exercise a liberty possessed by all men and women, the freedom of expression. As long as one journalist is in jail or otherwise oppressed or repressed because of their work, all of us — other journalists, as well as newspaper readers, television viewers and Internet users — are that much less free.
As a Cuban, I especially remember my colleagues and compatriots of the island's independent press, especially those listed below, imprisoned because of their commitment to free expression, and to a free Cuba.
Cuba is a very dangerous place to be a Cuban journalist -- and not one of the transcriptionists and mouthpieces that work for state-run official media -- because in Cuba under the Castro dictatorship, freedom of the press, like all liberties, is not recognized. Anyone who dares exercise their right by reporting a story and sharing it with readers in Cuba and around the world, is treated as an outcast, as a criminal.
Yet there are many Cubans who persist in finding the stories not told by the official media and sharing them with the world. Their ranks are growing. They are also learning and mastering new technologies -- blogs, Twitter, cell phones, etc. -- a knowledge that helps them break the monopoly on information essential to a dictatorship's survival.
And recently, as Amnesty International noted last week, the dictatorship has responded with a new crackdown on independent journalists, harassing them, threatening them and in at least two cases, throwing them in jail.
The surest evidence of the challenges journalists face in Cuba is that the Castro dictatorship by just about any measuring stick, is one of the most prolific jailers of journalists in the world.
It is those journalists I remember on World Press Freedom Day.
(* Members of the Group of
75 56 54 53.)