The CPJ and the Cuban agents

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 14 08:23:55 MDT 2003


Most people have probably heard of the Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ), a US based outfit that generally does good work defending
journalists against repression. If you go to their website at
www.cpj.org, you will find links to a number of cases they are involved
with. Most are worthy, such as the item decrying the murderous US attack
on journalists during the Iraq war. Unfortunately, there is also an item
defending the US agents in Cuba under the specious heading "Crackdown on
the Independent Press in Cuba".

To give credit to the CPJ, they at least present the Cuban government's
case on their website, which is filled with testimony about the buckets
of payments made by both the USA and the Spanish based Hispanic-Cuban
Foundation to the opponents of the Cuban government. Since the CPJ makes
no case made against this kind of funding, one must assume that they
view it as legitimate. One can only wonder what would happen to a
radical newspaper in the USA that was discovered to rely on Cuban
funding. They would not throw the staff in jail. They would throw the
staff under the jail.

Let's try an intellectual exercise. Turn the clock back to 1941. The
Japanese has attacked Pearl Harbor, which was not even part of the USA
but a colonial outpost to guard economic and military interests in the
Pacific. Only eight days after the attack, Roosevelt established the
Office of Censorship which asserted the power to control all
international communications. So why should Cuba, which has been the
victim of a full-scale invasion, economic blockade, repeated
assassination plots against government leaders, skyjackings winked at by
the USA and probable biological warfare including Dengue Fever be held
up to a higher standard than the host country of CPJ?

The corporate press was happy to join Roosevelt and exercise the kind of
self-censorship that was on display during the Iraq War. With outfits
like CNN, Bloomberg Inc. and Viacom/CBS serving as major donors to the
CPJ, one might expect them to have a blind spot on such questions. After
all, if you have the freedom to buy a newspaper like Rupert Murdoch or
Mort Zuckerman does, why would one deny that freedom to the Cuban people?

Of course, the CPJ is not solely the creature of the big corporate
funders who pay the rent, salaries and other expenses. There are good
"lefties" on the Board of Directors like Victor Navasky of the Nation
Magazine. But our friends at the Nation have also exhibited a blind spot
on such matters in the past. Freda Kirchney, the editor of The Nation at
that time of Pearl Harbor, claimed, "Disloyal publications should be
exterminated exactly as if they were enemy machine guns in the Bataan
jungle." My, oh, my!


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