Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that news organizations and online media should stand with a Cuban blogger being punished for trying to distribute uncensored news reports.
Yoani Sánchez, a renowned dissident blogger, launched the news site 14ymedio.com on Wednesday, only to have it hacked by government forces and redirected to a page criticizing Sánchez.
“Yoani Sánchez has long been one of Cuba’s most courageous pro-democracy and human rights voices, giving the world insights on life inside Cuba through her blog. She is now an aspiring Cuban media entrepreneur who the Castro regime shut down yesterday by hacking into her news website, 14ymedio.com, on the day of its launch,” Rubio said in a statement.
“Imagine for a moment, if the U.S. government had shut down Politico the day it launched in 2007 – or any conservative, liberal or mainstream online news outlet for that matter. As Americans, we would be outraged.”
Everybody needs to recognize that “press freedom is a universal human right, and we should be outraged that yet another blatant instance of repression has taken place in Cuba.”
“I recognize it’s not the role of government officials to tell the press how to do their jobs, but I do believe it’s the responsibility of Yoani’s fellow journalists everywhere to stand in solidarity with her as the Castro government blocks her from doing her job and help her shine a light on the regime’s repression, its failures and the Cuban people’s aspirations for freedom,” the senator said.
“This is also a reminder about the dangers of potentially turning over governance of the Internet to any entity that gives any influence whatsoever to regimes and governments that view the Internet as a threat to their power,” he added.
That was a nod to U.S. policy, not Cuba’s.
Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), joined by Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Republicans, today requested a hearing to review the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) announcement to transition oversight of certain Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community.
“It is critical that we understand what this will mean for the millions of Americans who use the Internet on a daily basis and the thousands of businesses and organizations that now depend upon the Internet to reach their customers and members,” said the letter to Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-S.D.).
“Congress must once again lead the cause for Internet freedom… This announcement and the outcome of this proposed transition are too important for the Committee to remain silent.”