Dissident Cuban blogger plans to launch digital paper

COLOMBIA, Cartagena : Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez takes part in a conference during the annual Hay Festival, in Cartagena de Indias on January 31, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR

COLOMBIA, Cartagena : Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez takes part in a conference during the annual Hay Festival, in Cartagena de Indias on January 31, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR

February 1, 2014 (AFP) – Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez said Friday she plans to launch a digital newspaper in her homeland later this year, hoping it will strike a blow for press freedom on the Communist island.

The prominent critic of Cuba’s rulers, famed for her “Generacion Y” blog, said she wanted her new project to “raise awareness of information.”

“It’s not an anti-Castro media, it’s a media grounded in reality with basic information,” she said of the future newspaper.

Cuba tightly regulates all media and regularly ranks near the bottom of the annual Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders each year.

Sanchez, speaking during a visit to the Hay Festival in the Colombian port city of Cartagena, acknowledged that any attempt to launch an unofficial newspaper would likely meet with resistance.

“They could arrive on the first day, kick in the door, take everything away and block our access to the Internet,” she said. “But maybe we would be sowing the seeds of a free press.”

Sanchez was barred from traveling outside the island nation for many years by Cuban authorities. However, a change in the law last year allowed her to tour 13 countries in Europe and the Americas.

With close to half a million followers on Twitter and a blog translated into 15 languages, Sanchez was ranked among the 100 most influential women in the world by Time magazine in 2008.

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