(Original title: Fidel Castro defends Cuba’s state-controlled press)
By WILL WEISSERT | AP
Fidel Castro defended Cuba’s government-controlled press Friday, arguing that news coverage is manipulated by those wealthy enough to finance newsgathering even in countries guaranteeing press freedom.
In a column posted on a state Web site, the 82-year-old ex-president wrote that “today, only through gigantic investments can you provide centers that produce the news for the whole planet.”
“And only those who manage them decide what gets reported and how it gets reported,” he said.
In Cuba, all television, radio, newspapers, magazines and publishing houses are state-owned, and severe limits on private ownership and enterprise ban competing with official propaganda.
The Internet is also strictly controlled, and while a small number of Cuban bloggers with illegal Web access express their opinions openly, most do not enjoy as wide followings on the island as legions of official bloggers who repeat the government’s line.
Some military and government officials are allowed Internet access and Castro has become an official blogger of sorts recently, almost every day posting online a column that is subsequently read on state radio and television and published in official newspapers.