Havana – The official newspaper of Cuba's ruling Communist Party complained Friday that the "innumerable and illogical obstacles" that bureaucrats use to stop journalists from gaining access to information on the island makes their job an "agonizing cross to bear."
In an article entitled "The Right to Information," Granma admits the existence of "state secrets that obviously require a different treatment," but regrets what a chore it is to get information on other matters "of understandable interest to the public," such as those related to the economy.
The paper criticizes the "lack of understanding on the part of many administrative officials, who seem oblivious to the rights of citizens and to the irritation it causes them when the reasons for a phenomenon or a measure are not explained in a timely way."
For Granma it is "incredible and even irritating that to interview a student at his school, the authorization of a deputy minister is required as something totally indispensable" or that the official Communist Party daily has to get ministerial permission to take photos of a public event.
"What state secret can be so involved in a story about plans to recycle tires that it takes days of bureaucratic red tape to be allowed to do it?" says another complaint.
The article recalls President Raul Castro's words that "all information should be put on the table along with the reasons for each decision" and that "the excess of secrecy should be suppressed."
In his main report at April's 6th party Congress, Raul Castro criticized the fact that most of the time Cuban media - all under state control - are not given "opportune access to information," with even specialists in specific fields excluded, which leads to journalism that is "boring, improvised and superficial."
In that speech the president urged media to forget its habits of "triumphalism, shrillness and conventionality" and said that the island's press should play a decisive role in the "objective, constant and critical" reporting on the plan of economic reforms being undertaken in the country.