Slick new graphics, drum and bass theme music and younger presenters: a minimum of in its presentation, Cuba’s newest state tv channel is a break with the previous.
Referred to as Canal Caribe, it’s an try to face out from the stiffly offered, closely scripted newscasts which have aired on state TV for many years.
The channel is making an attempt out completely different codecs. They embody dwell link-ups with worldwide correspondents through Skype and using social media websites like Twitter – easy units which might be frequent on most different information channels however new for Cuban TV.
The channel’s information director, Ovidio Cabrera, confirmed me across the station.
As one of many founders of one other left-wing Latin American information service, the Venezuelan-funded Telesur, he says this new enterprise might be distinctive in Cuba as a result of it’s going to run outdoors the mounted noon and early-evening slots.
“The important thing distinction is that this might be a information and data channel that is on air for 18 hours a day,” says Mr Cabrera.
“And the overwhelming majority of our protection, round two-thirds, might be dwell.”
A dwell, round the clock tv information channel may not sound significantly revolutionary, however in Cuba such modifications occur slowly.
The state-run newspaper and mouthpiece of the Cuban Communist Social gathering, Granma, has barely modified its typeface in 50 years of revolution.
The query is whether or not editorially Canal Caribe might be any completely different from different channels on the Communist-run island and if criticism might be broadcast.
“It is a channel for extra revolution,” says Mr Cabrera, instantly squashing any suggestion that Canal Caribe might be something lower than 100% pro-government.
“We can’t shrink back from criticising what is not working, from making strategies, from analysing and discussing social issues, however all the time by the prism of supporting the revolutionary course of, not towards it,” he explains.
The younger journalists at Canal Caribe insist that, regardless of the restrictions on them, they are going to report points that matter to atypical folks.
“As an intern [working in state media] right here, I used to be instructed loads of guidelines I discovered to be nonsense,” says information anchor Luis Miguel Cabrera in fluent English.
“And I am actually proud that I’ve skilled how these guidelines have been – I can not say ‘modified’ precisely – however definitely made extra versatile.”
Not but in his thirties, Mr Cabrera presents The World Now programme and believes that Canal Caribe is proof of adjusting media attitudes in Cuba.
“I’ve personally skilled that I might report the form of points that one could not do prior to now. So I feel that now we have that accountability to push onerous with the intention to change issues that we do not discover consultant of what’s going on, not solely in Cuba however on the planet as nicely.”
That stated, he’s a realist and is aware of the editorial surroundings through which he works.
“It’s important to needless to say it is a state-owned channel. However I imagine that we will responsibly present on TV what goes in Cuba and what’s consultant of the Cuban folks,” he says.
Change underneath manner
The way in which Cubans are consuming their information is undoubtedly altering.
“I have not watched state TV in years”, a younger music video producer tells me.
“I get all my data from the Weekly Bundle” he provides, referring to an offline type of file-sharing in Cuba utilizing hard-drives which is each low cost and massively well-liked.
There are additionally now about 100 public wi-fi spots dotted throughout the island and most younger folks would somewhat pay for an hour of Web entry than tune into the nightly information.
Canal Caribe will be the Cuban Authorities’s try and deal with that, however they are going to discover it onerous to interact the island’s youth.
A pilot scheme has simply ended to permit Web connections in personal houses and theoretically ought to quickly change into extra extensively accessible.
One Cuban blogger, Ariel Montenegro, thinks the times of the Web being perceived as harmful by the authorities might now be numbered.
“I do not imagine that the Cuban Authorities believes proper now that the Web is dangerous and goes to be dangerous for the nation and for the revolution and for socialism and so forth,” he says, sitting in a public wi-fi spot.
Though getting on-line continues to be sluggish and costly, he says, he’s broadly optimistic about the way forward for the island’s connectivity.
A part of the Canal Caribe newsroom is a constructing website as they assemble a very new set whereas contained in the on-air studio, the younger group of journalists is getting ready to broadcast dwell once more.
In a quickly altering media surroundings, the Cuban authorities is acutely conscious that the slogans of the previous not attraction to many younger folks.
With a round the clock information channel, they’re hoping to change into extra related to their viewers once more whereas nonetheless delivering the identical important message.