Forum in Cuba Debates on Journalism's Impact in New Technologies

The impact of the new information and communication technologies stands out on Tuesday in Havana among the issues being debated during the second and last day of an international forum on journalism sponsored by Prensa Latina News Agency.

The panel dedicated to access these technologies takes place at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, with papers addressing their role in social cohesion and the search for alliances to face right-wing media campaigns and the information monopoly imposed from the centers of power, particularly the United States.

Papers by Argentine journalist Alberto Rabilotta, Colombian Jorge Enrique Botero and Cuban Rosa Miriam Elizalde stand out among the participants of the event started on Monday on occasion of the 60th anniversary of Operation Truth and the foundation of Prensa Latina.

The closing ceremony of the forum that brings together more than 30 experts from Latin America and other parts of the world also includes a panel on the dangers of journalism in the region, with speeches -according to the program- by Argentine journalist and writer Stella Calloni and Brazilian Paulo Cannabrava.

Monday's forum was the scene of complaints about media manipulation and the proliferation of fake news to attack left-wing processes and progressive leaders.

French-Spanish intellectual Ignacio Ramonet called on journalists to stick to the facts before a world of information that he described as a crisis of credibility.

The lie always existed in media, but now it is something more serious, it seems a great intoxication, he stressed.

Calloni told Prensa Latina that it is urgent to articulate responses to break the media monopoly imposed by the information machines of the centers of power, a battle in which he insisted on the importance of the protagonism of young people.

Other participants talked about the validity of the scenario that led Fidel Castro six decades ago to convene 400 journalists from different parts of the world to Havana to learn first-hand details of the trials against those responsible for crimes during the defeated Fulgencio Batista dictatorship, in Operation Truth.

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Cuba Hosts International Latin American Journalism Forum

Discussing about the Latin American journalism in the scenarios of globalization and new technologies is the goal of an international forum that begins on Monday at Havana''s Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

The event, which will conclude on January 22, is sponsored by the Latin American News Agency Prensa Latina in the context of the 60th anniversary of Operation Truth.

About the forum, Brazilian journalist Beto Almeida considered that discussing the manipulation of information and the danger it represents for the society are an opportune framework.

The analyst also commented that the issue of informative truth and non-truth is increasingly gaining political relevance and a great social impact.

This situation of manipulation and fake news can cause tragedies, wars and very harmful changes for the people, as in the case of Brazil, thus the importance of debating this crucial issue at the forum, Almeida said.

Colombian journalist Jorge Enrique Botero stated that the issues to be debated are fully in force and will be discussed by participants with a high intellectual level and experience in the sector.

It will be an important occasion to reflect on the situation of Latin American journalism in the light of new technologies that have transformed our profession completely, Botero said.

At the forum, which will recall the 60th anniversary of Operation Truth, professionals from the sector in the region and other parts of the world will seek answers to the challenge posed by the need to exercise journalism committed to truth and common good.

Operation Truth was a meeting of 400 foreign journalists in Havana when the Revolution was 20 days old, so that they could have first-hand information about the trials of criminals of war from the overthrown dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, amid lies about that process.

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Cuban Journalist Receives International Recognition in Russia

The Latin American Personality of the Year distinction was granted to Cuban Jorge Petinaud Martinez by the Ibero-American Journalists'' Organization (OPI), sources of that union confirmed in Moscow on Thursday.

The award, which is given in the context of The Days of Russian Science, will be delivered on October 31 during an official ceremony at the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

The decoration was granted to Petinaud, who worked as a correspondent of Prensa Latina in Moscow, and was endorsed by knowing the career of this journalist.

His work during the last years, in which he covered many of the events that managed to strengthen the relationship in the educational field between Russia and Latin America was also taken into account, Berenice Cervantes, OPI coordinator in Russia, told Prensa Latina.

According to Cervantes, the award honors outstanding personalities from different countries, who from their respective responsibilities provide day by day their capacity and effort to contribute to peace and a better world.

Among those awarded is Equatorial Guinea's President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who will speak during the event.

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Cuban Journalists Debate New Communication Policy at X Congress

The Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) began its Tenth Congress here today, during which it will discuss contributions to the implementation of the Communication Policy and the press model needed for the country.

Presenting the main theme of the conference, 'How can the Cuban press and journalism contribute to the implementation of the Communication Policy', UPEC National Committee member Raul Garces pointed out several of the challenges in this process, among them those of management, innovation and credibility in the media.

Garces, also dean of the Faculty of Communication at the University of Havana, reminded those present that a group of objectives and principles 'does not magically solve problems which are sometimes historically accumulated and with a cultural sediment'.

However, he affirmed that 'in the case of Cuba, in the midst of all the past and present threats, it is the opportunity to give socialism a modern, participative, innovative and irrevocably democratic face'.

'It is up to us to understand the role of the creative industries in the contemporary world, to manage them and take advantage of them boldly,' said Garces, who stressed that the new policy provides for the sale of products and services, international cooperation, advertising and sponsorship, among others, as sources of financing (in those places where it is approved).

According to the scholar, it is a good step to build alliances and give muscle to the system of public media to transcend the production of content and stop at the added value that each journalistic organization could generate, but without dazzling or obscuring the economy.

'Running a media organization in today's Cuba requires a culture, a very personal approach and a great deal of political sensitivity, not minimizing threats, but also not letting opportunities pass through as easy, inertia or professional cowardice,' he added.

However, he insisted that the best idea and the best policy can crash into practice if the conditions are not created to make them viable.

'This congress,' he stated, 'calls us to analyze together how to successfully implement the recently approved Communication Policy'.

'The future of the Cuban Revolution is certainly at stake in the fields of economy and politics, but also, and with significant force, in the symbolic field,' he stressed.

The national meeting of the UPEC, organised under the slogan 'The truth needs us', will conclude tomorrow with debates on the press model needed for socialism on the island.

During the congress delegates will also work in five committees: Functioning of the UPEC, Ethics and communication, Media aggression against Cuba, Innovation and new technologies and Content management.

In addition, the delegates will elect the president of the association and approve the work plan for the next five years.

Founded on July 15, 1963, UPEC has 3,920 members throughout the country. More than 52 per cent of the total are women.

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‘Investigative journalism is dead’

If you are going home and simply watch the nightly news in the US, you are not getting any part of the real story; it's hard to discern what the real news is, says Mike Papantonio, host of ‘America’s Lawyer.'

With stories on "fake news" now dominating the headlines, and audiences not sure what to believe any longer, more people are looking to alternative media sources.

RT: Is the American public getting a fair breakdown on what is happening in the world today?

Mike Papantonio: It is difficult for the American public to ever get both sides of the story. What is happening in the US these days is a real nuanced type of propaganda. If you have a company, let’s say it is a weapons manufacturer that has an interest in turning up the heat on a conflict, like we saw with Iraq, or you have a news organization that understands that they can sell more advertising if they can create more interest on an issue like Iraq, they simply take the side that creates that interest.

@RT_com ? Nobody does it better than the West )Op-Edge by @Robert_Bridge)

As we saw with Iraq, the American people were completely left in the dark about what the real story was. It went as far as having the American public watch Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice testifying in front of the UN about uranium and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. And in the end, the American public obviously found out that that was not true. But it is difficult to discern what the real news is. Unfortunately, in the US right now, the best source of information is social media. It's moved away from pure corporate media where you expect ABC or CBS or NBC to give you the real story. That story is always tainted with what somebody who might be buying advertising has to say about the particular story. We really saw that with Iraq. We saw this huge push by the big advertisers, such as Boeing, McDonnell Douglas pushing the idea that we had to go to Iraq or all was lost. And then we saw the media pushing the story because they understood that if they can get America’s attention they sold more advertising. Unfortunately, that has been the situation here in the US – as well as other parts of the world - and in many parts of the world. You see the media reacting according to their best interest.

RT: Is it possible to change the current situation? 

MP: Unfortunately, there is no single solution here. I think what becomes more and more important is that the American public, and not just the American public, but the world public, pays attention and evaluates according to many sources. I choose to go to social media because I know there are many sites that I believe far more than I would corporate media. Somebody else may have a different avenue that they use. But the only way that I go about preparing a story… is to go to multiple sources. And then figure out where I am being hustled, what is accurate and what is not, and that takes some work. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, people are working, they have families to have to take care of, they have children in school, they have jobs to take care of. So, at the end of the day it is a lot of work to really find out what is real and what is not. I don’t know whether there is any one solution, but if I were trying to suggest where do you begin, most of the time I find the search is much better off with social media that is less affected most of the time by big advertisers. Now, it is affected by special interest groups. What we are seeing worldwide now is advertisers commandeering social media; special interest groups commandeering social media.

But there are still places where you have a better choice of information than you would get if you get home and what the nightly news. If you are going home and simply watching the nightly news in the US or most countries around the world, you are not getting any part of the real story. You are maybe getting what is being sold that moment for corporate media. In most parts of the world, investigative journalism is dead because they simply don’t take the time to really look at all sides of the story.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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Journalism based on gossip is akin to terrorism – Pope Francis

Speaking with Italian reporters, Pope Francis warned they should be careful as one can kill a person with their tongue. This is even more so for journalists, so their work should be very professional and never based on “rumors.”

On Thursday, Francis addressed a gathering of 400 people from the Italian National Council of the Order of Journalists, emphasizing the importance of professionalism in journalistic activity, as it is the cornerstone of an independent and pluralist society.

However, “you can kill a person with the tongue,” Catholic news website Cruxnow cited the pontiff as saying.

“I have often spoken of rumors as ‘terrorism,’ of how you can kill a person with the tongue,” Pope Francis said. “If this is valid for an individual person, in the family or at work, so much more it’s valid for journalists, because their voice can reach everyone, and this is a very powerful weapon.”

Denunciation of evil, he continued, must not come at the cost of disrespecting another, because “the unjustly defamed can be destroyed forever.”

His remarks are well-directed in Italy – a country considered to have very lax controls regarding defamation through the press. This has been known to be the case with powerful papers with government money behind them. Such was the case in 2009, when the journalists’ guild lashed out at then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, after one of his family’s papers began a character assassination of a magistrate who had ruled against one of the Berlusconi family’s companies, according to the Guardian.

But the pope referred here to more pressing issues affecting the planet – particularly the coverage of the migrant crisis. Journalism, he said, should not be a “weapon of destruction against persons and even entire peoples.”

It should neither “foment fear before events like forced migration from war or from hunger,” Francis added. This could refer to last year’s labeling of the Paris attackers “Islamic Bastards” by right-wing newspaper Libero. Such examples of stoking up hysteria are not few and between.

According to the pontiff, journalism should not be about what you believe, but about being honest, and never going ahead with a story if you know it to be false.

“I understand that in today’s journalism, with an uninterrupted flux of facts and events told 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s not always easy to get to the truth, or even to get close to it,” he said. However, “even in journalism, it’s necessary to discern between the shades of gray of the events being told.”

READ MORE: Church should apologize to gays & women for ill treatment – Pope Francis

Pope Francis then reminded that “across history, dictatorships - of any orientation or ‘color’- have always tried to not only undertake the media, but also to impose new rules to the profession.”

The pope is known for delivering impassioned speeches that reach outside of his circle of followers and bring the Catholic Church under increased, often positive spotlight with his message of inclusion. In June, Francis declared the Church should apologize to gay people and women it has mistreated.

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UN Urges to Protect Work of Journalists Worldwide

During the World Press Freedom Day, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments, politicians, businessmen and citizens to nurture and protect the work of journalists

Freedom and independence of the press give power to the people and help us work together for a world of dignity and opportunity for all, said the Secretary General in his message for the date, set in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly.

According to Ban, both democratic societies and sustainable development depend on the free flow of information.

Every year we celebrate this day to insist on this fundamental principle and to honor those who risk their lives in the exercise of the profession, he said.

The Secretary General expressed regret that journalists too often face threats, abuse, arrests and even lose their lives in the search for information.

  • Published in Now
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