Freedom of expression and the right to information is a fundamental human right. Without it, other human rights are imperiled. Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. This right to Freedom of Expression is carried forward in International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, which also talks about responsibilities, including directly or indirectly the power of the news media in the promotion of human rights.
As Michael Ignatieff writes in his book, The Warrior’s Honor: Ethics, War and the Modern Conscience, “Journalists must come to terms with their own responsibility as the eyes and ears of their audience, providing them with the accurate and honest information that will allow them to move from being spectators to violence, to actors in the resolution and prevention of violent conflict. “
How does that relate to Cuba? The castro regime came to power by deception and terror, resulting in what can only be described as a state of war against the Cuban people. Executions, labor camps, forced re-locations and exile, and the imposition of a repressive military police force to exercise control over civilian society. Journalists absolutely have the responsibility to accurately portray the truth in any story they cover; when there are human rights violations present, failing in that responsibility makes them complicit in those violations.
Withholding the truth about the castro regime is the life’s blood of the regimes survival. One only needs to look at the outrage over Gitmo, and the famine in Ethiopia as two obvious examples to understand the power of the media and their ability to incite public outrage. Where is that outrage for castro’s victims? I believe the MSM has the power to free Cuba if only they would do so. Imagine what the public response would be were Dr. Biscet’s image and story a regular on the nightly news?
What will it take to free Cuba is a question I ponder on a regular basis, it haunts me. I’ve read that ultimately only the Cuban people can free themselves, but I ask, at what cost and when? As a person of faith, I cannot accept that abandoning the Cuban people is the correct or moral stand, nor am I able to excuse five decades of obstruction of the truth by the MSM. I believe that we are all obligated under the Judeo-Christian tradition to take action; we must not turn our backs on those who are suffering. Is it acceptable to stand idle while 12 million people are held hostage in a police state? Is it not the media’s responsibility to report honestly that truth, and inspire the public to demand an end to the suffering of the Cuban people?