Cuba delays approval of the Social Communication Law

The Cuban Parliament agreed on Monday to delay the debate and approval of the Social Communication Law, whose draft in its version 32 it had been presented last July after several years of writing.

The president of the ANPP, Esteban Lazo, explained that the Council of State asked to delay its approval due to the “complexity” of the law and the changes to which it has been subjected lately, which had not been fully transferred to parliamentarians.

Lazo assured that this “important” regulation – which would be the first in the country in its field – could be debated in February or March 2023, once a greater number of opinions from specialists and citizens are included.

The bill that will no longer be approved this year recognizes social communication as an essential element for the economic and social development of the country and provides for the existence of a state governing entity, which was established last year: the Institute of Information and Social Communication.

When the IICS was introduced, the officials said that “it has the mission of leading and controlling the Social Communication Policy of the State and the Cuban Government; propose its improvement, as well as contribute to promoting the culture of dialogue and consensus in Cuban society”.

What is known about the new Institute of Information and Social Communication of Cuba?

The draft Communications Law defines the category of “fundamental media of social communication” as “media institutions of a strategic nature in the construction of consensus and in the participatory management of the economic, social and cultural development of the nation.”

It reaffirms that these “fundamental means” will only be “socialist property of all the people or of the political, social and mass organizations and cannot be the object of another type of property, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba”.

At the same time, in a very diffuse way, it recognizes that there are other media with a specific editorial profile, which, according to what can be understood, are not “essential”.

“These media belong to State institutions and entities, local bodies of People’s Power, political, social and mass organizations, associative forms and other legally recognized economic and social actors, which have the obligation to register them in the National Registry of Serial Publications. .”

The draft Social Communication Law certainly leaves room for doubt about this categorization. It apparently condemns to illegality media that arise or already exist, independently, outside or in opposition, to the institutionality and the political and social associations that prevail today in the country, highly regulated and under the imprint of the Communist Party of Cuba.

The norm prohibits content “to make propaganda in favor of war, of a foreign State hostile to the interests of the nation, terrorism, violence and the apology of hatred among Cubans,” and also those that aim to “destabilize the socialist state of law.

It also points out that the country’s social communication system has the purpose of “promoting consensus and national unity around the Homeland, the Revolution and the Communist Party of Cuba.”

On December 1st, the new Criminal Code of Cuba entered into force, in which “anyone who spreads false news” is punished with up to three years in prison for the purpose of “disturbing international peace or endangering the prestige or credit of the Cuban State”.

The work program of the ANPP had foreseen in this session the discussion of six laws, this one among them, within the plan to adapt national legislation to the novelties introduced by the 2019 Constitution.

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