The press and journalists will play a decisive role in the constitutional reform consultation which began August 13 across the country, the most decisive civic test of recent years, according to experts and professionals who spoke during a conference yesterday, August 15.
The challenge we face of building consensus, around changes to be made in the Constitution, begins with considering the opinions of others for the good of all, commented Ricardo Ronquillo Bello, president of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC), during a panel discussion entitled “The press in Cuba at the crossroads of a new Constitution.”
Ronquillo, who participated digitally, insisted that this process demands innovation and creativity of journalists, on traditional platforms and on channels offered by new information technology, so the debate is transparent and the way opinions are collected and evaluated is clear to all.
Dr. Rosa Miriam Elizalde, UPEC first vice president, emphasized the importance of knowing the country’s constitutional history, beginning in the Guáimaro Constitution of 1869, which included freedom of the press among Cubans’ individual rights.
She noted however that past guarantees have referred only to the rights reporters and media, and not of those seeking information. The current proposal, she pointed out, establishes freedom of expression and access to information, as well as the responsibility of all authorities to make public information they have.
Dr. Elizalde emphasized as well, “This document safeguards the political, class character of our press, defining the property that sustains it as socialist, owned by the people as a whole, blocking the possibility that a private monopoly remerge in Cuba’s media sector.”
The meeting took place at UPEC headquarters in Havana, with journalists, experts, and academics participating, and served to recall the organization’s former president Antonio Moltó, who died August 15, 2017, as well as other journalists recently deceased: Ana María Radaelli, Jesús Hernández, Pedro Hernández Soto, Lázaro Fernández, Rafael Daniel, and Renato Recio, among others.
UPEC has activated an email account to receive comments on issues related to the press included in the proposed Constitution: email@example.com. (Taken from en.granma.cu)