Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel takes part in a session of the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba on May 16, 2022. (Irene Perez/Courtesy of Cubadebate via Reuters)

CPJ condemns Cuba’s new penal code as a threat to independent media

Miami, May 16, 2022 – In response to news reports that on Sunday, May 15, the Cuban National Assembly passed an amendment to the penal code that could severely damage independent journalism, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement expressing alarm:

“We are alarmed by the passage of Cuba’s new penal code, which further criminalizes the work of independent journalists on the island by banning foreign funding and puts their existence and sustainability at dire risk,” said Ana Cristina Núñez, CPJ’s Latin American and the Caribbean senior researcher. “With the new penal code, Cuban authorities continue to build an intricate and perverse legal regime of censorship and deal a devastating blow to independent journalists and outlets.”

The amendment, originally proposed on January 20 by Cuba’s Supreme Tribunal, prohibits Cuban citizens from receiving foreign funds and could be used to silence independent journalists and outlets who rely on this type of funding to operate, as CPJ documented. The new code will take effect within 90 days, according to the same media reports.