Slovakia's leading newspapers published identical protests on otherwise blank front pages Thursday to condemn legislation that they said would undermine press freedom. The six main dailies left their front pages empty except for a list of "seven sins" in the legislation, which would require them to print responses by people or institutions to any news article even if the published information were true.
Right to access information held by public bodies and its contribution to transparency, media pluralism, good governance, empowerment and poverty eradication were the focus of debates during the international experts meeting on "Freedom of Information and Sustainable Development, Sealing the Link" held last week at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The government of Cuba, under new President Raul Castro, has said it is allowing ordinary Cubans to buy mobile phones, a luxury previously reserved for those who worked for foreign firms or held key posts with the state. The announcement marks the first official lifting of a major restriction under the new regime, and is the kind of small freedom many Cubans have been hoping he would introduce since succeeding his older brother Fidel as president in February. Previously, some Cubans had managed to acquire mobile handsets by having foreigners sign contracts in their names, but mobile phones are a very uncommon sight. Telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) said it would allow the general public to sign pre-paid contracts in Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC), which are geared toward tourists and foreigners and worth around 23 times the regular pesos (CUP) that Cuban state employees are paid in. This will mean that mobile services will still be too expensive for many Cubans. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, ETECSA, which is owned by the Cuban government (73%) and Telecom Italia International (27%), had an estimated 165,000 users at the end of 2007.