The Cuban government’s heavy-handed censorship practices are well documented, and evident in the virtual absence of independent print and broadcast journalism. Yet recently, many Cubans have shown themselves remarkably well informed about the outside world, in ways that cannot be explained by their traditional media offerings. This newfound benefit is the result of a parallel world of digital media, supported by ingenious Cuban workarounds.
In “Cuba’s Parallel Worlds: Digital Media Crosses the Divide,” Anne Nelson analyzes the findings of two years of research, including extensive field work and on-the-ground surveys across the island. Nelson explores how the Cuban population has overcome restrictive information policies and limited infrastructure to access news and information. Indeed, the spread of technology on the island may be creating a new opening for long-stalled media development efforts. We are pleased to share this fascinating research in hope that it will not only inform the development of a more open and vibrant media ecosystem in Cuba, but also offer lessons for other countries struggling with similar conditions.