Digital Media and the Promotion of Deliberative Debate in Cuba

This report aims to examine digital independent media projects in Cuba within the broader media ecosystem in which they operate. More specifically, it looks at the context in which some journalists become disengaged from the Cuban institutional media system and decide to create independent spaces for debate and deliberation online. However, this research also complicates the commonly believed notion that these alternative digital publications naturally catalyze debate that is both critical and oppositional. The report draws on previous literature, digital debates on political ‘centrism’ in Cuba and in-depth interviews with Cuban journalists in order to assess the way in which an intellectual elite claims a disenfranchisement of politics from the state. This report is part of the Internet Policy Observatory’s Research For Impact series, and is included within a wider project that seeks to produce content aimed at a variety of audiences. On the academic side, the author has submitted a corresponding paper for peer review that examines the impact of the Internet and digital technologies on (1) journalistic discourses, (2) journalist’s in-group and out-group interactions and (3) larger media structures in Cuba. On the journalistic side, it is published in parallel to the dossier “Sobre Internet in Cuba” , produced by the independent magazine Periodismo de Barrio. For more details about this work, please email garcias.sara@gmail.com

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Using Research in Digital Rights Advocacy: Understanding the Research Needs of the Internet Freedom Community

The importance of research within digital rights advocacy cannot be understated. Whether your objective is to persuade policymakers, communicate with companies, educate journalists, convince funders, or influence public opinion, you need accurate and systematically collected information. All advocacy organizations engage in research even if they don’t realize it—advocates are identifying a problem, strategically analyzing causes and effects, seeking potential solutions through information gathering, and communicating this information in a compelling way with core stakeholders. While most organizations have some capacity for research, many organizations do not have the time, funding, or expertise to understand how to deploy the best, most robust, and most convincing research methods to fuel data-driven advocacy. This is especially true for digital rights-related activism, where methods for studying the effects of internet policies, internet user behavior, and corporate decision-making online are often highly technical.

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