By BO Staff Writer
On Wednesday, 11 September 2019, Twitter executed a mass censorship of freedom of expression by suspending the accounts of Cuba’s biggest media outlets as well as their journalists.
@Cubadebate with about 300 000 followers; @Granma_Digital with approximately 167 000 followers; @RadioRebeldeCu; @MesaRedondaCuba; @CanalCaribe; and @DominioCuba were amongst the major media outlets suspended.
Twitter also blocked the accounts of the Communist Party of Cuba; the Ministry of Communications (@MINCOMCuba); Cuba’s director of Communication and Image at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yaira Jiménez Roig (@yairajr); the Director of the National Center for Sexual Education, Mariela Castro Espín (@CastroEspinM).; Rosa Miriam Elizalde (@elizalderosa), the First Vice President of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC); as well as Granma’s journalist Enrique Moreno Gimeranez (@GimeranezEm) and a number of Cuban government officials including Leticia Martínez (@leticiadecuba) and Angélica Paredes (@aparedesrebelde), of the Cuban President’s press team. Twitter has not given any explanation thus far as to why they have taken these measures.
These massive coordinated suspensions by Twitter occurred on Wednesday evening, shortly before the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and other important government officials appeared on TV and presented measures to be put in place to counter the intensification of the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba.
In a statement issued on Thursday, UPEC denounced the suspensions “as an act of mass censorship of journalists, editors and the media”. It further demanded “the immediate restoration of the blocked accounts”. It pointed out that those affected have not contravened any of Twitter’s policies and that “the platform has flagrantly trampled on the rights of communicators”.
According to UPEC, “Cuba Internet Task Force” is very likely to be behind the massive censorship. The U.S. government’s State Department runs the said Internet Task Force which in turn spreads the messages of the U.S. government to Cuba via the internet.
South African Twitter users too have consistently reported that their accounts have been blocked. They are then messaged by Twitter to follow the procedures so as to recover their accounts. In the months leading up to the May 8 national elections this year – which the black consciousness organization Black First Land First (BLF) had contested – the Twitter accounts of the leaders of BLF including its President Andile Mngxitama were blocked. Moreover Twitter, Facebook and Google effectively acted in concert with the anti black agenda of white monopoly capital interests to get BLF banned. They did so via consolidated actions of cyber warfare so as to limit the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and to silence the leaders of the revolution in the country. Ultimately BLF was deregistered as a political party (at the instance of a right wing white supremacist party, the Freedom Front Plus) and it is now seeking a court order for the setting aside of that decision on appeal. Until this day the Twitter account of Mngxitama remains blocked.
The U.S. has systematically engaged in efforts to silence all those representating and supporting the nations on its list of enemies. Recently we saw how the Western war propaganda machinery was fixed on the anti-NATO alliance.
When responses were posted on Chinese Twitter accounts indicating condemnation of the Western narratives regarding the protests in Hong Kong, Twitter reacted by: suspending more than 900 of the said accounts; suspending 200,000 more accounts that it believed were linked to the government of China. Moreover, Google shut down 200 YouTube accounts, linked to the Chinese government.
Also Google manipulates search engine algorithms to bring down the viewership numbers on websites of leftist organizations. Thus via social media censorship the anti-socialist protests in Hong Kong is promoted and protected.
Similarly, another huge censorship was executed by Twitter when it suspended Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s English language Twitter account.
Already in this year, Twitter has banned thousands of the Iranian government linked accounts; and hundreds Venezuelan government linked and supported accounts in furtherance of the US sponsored coup attempt. Online censorship instances by Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google have systematically grown over the years.
The U.S. war propaganda regime – via, amongst others, its social media hosts Facebook, Twitter, Google – tells us what we must believe to be the truth in line with the ideological perspectives and interests of imperialism. To this end, online censorship via surveillance is aimed at manipulating peoples’ sentiments.
Whereas there is unwarranted outrage against Russian social media engagement, Israel’s social media programs is viewed as legitimate. Venezuelan President Maduro is prevented from tweeting about the country’s plight at the instance of imperialism that will appeal to the American people. However the U.S. administration can legally spread anti Maduro propaganda via the media intended for the American public to consume daily.
Western imperialism acts with impunity through its logic that it is inherently superior and is accordingly entrusted to protect the truth.