Cuba | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


In 2002, the situation for the press remained grim in Cuba, the only country in the Western Hemisphere that systematically imprisons journalists for their work. It is illegal for journalists to express opinions contrary to those of the state, and laws against criticizing the government, the revolution, and its leaders are punishable by jail time. The government controls all media outlets in the country including the main daily newspaper Granma, which serves as an official mouthpiece. Electronic media are also controlled by the state, and access to foreign media is restricted. Of the estimated 100 independent journalists operating in the country, many are regularly harassed, beaten, detained, or imprisoned by state officials. However, one notable event in 2002 stemmed from the visit of former U.S. president Jimmy Carter to Cuba, where he delivered an unprecedented and uncensored live speech on Cuban television. Also during the year, the government prohibited the sale of personal computers to the general public in order to prevent the emergence of independent publications and to keep the Internet age further at bay. All media are dependent on the state both for funding and for the right to operate.