Ted Lipien, the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) co-founder, took issue with The Los Angeles Times editorial, Stop spamming Cuba, which was highly critical of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) attempts to send Radio and TV Marti news as text messages to cell phone users in Cuba.
The BBG devised the project to overcome media censorship and heavy jamming of Radio and TV Marti broadcasts by the Cuban regime. The editorial called for ending U.S. news broadcasts to Cuba, removal of U.S. sanctions, and greater U.S. economic engagement with Cuba. This is what Ted Lipien wrote:
Ted Lipien at 9:45 AM October 24, 2011
Suppose The Los Angeles Times were banned by the U.S. government that became repressive, some of your reporters imprisoned or exiled — would you still publish an editorial in your clandestine online edition — if you managed to create one — that phone messages from Canada providing news about human rights abuses in the U.S. were in themselves abusive? I don’t think so.
One can argue whether sending phone text messages is the best way of delivering U.S. news to Cuba, but to say that the U.S. should do nothing to provide uncensored news and instead allow more investments to help the repressive Cuban government is irresponsible. Someone has to stand up for human rights. I remember hearing the same arguments about stopping U.S. news broadcasts and helping communist governments in Eastern Europe so they could reform themselves faster. They did not. People like Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel would tell you that Voice of America and Radio Free Europe broadcasts were crucial to winning the struggle against the communist regimes.
Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org)
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization working to strengthen free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries with restricted and developing media environments. CUSIB supports journalism in defense of media freedom and human rights and works closely with the executive branch, Congress, and media to promote effective multi-channel delivery of news and information to overcome press censorship.