three young people look at their phones
FILE - In this April 1, 2014, file photo, students gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba. As U.S. officials dealt with the fallout of a once-secret "Cuban Twitter" program, they had one thing on their side: notorious delays in the federal Freedom of Information Act. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

Cuba Internet Freedom Conference

This September, Miami will host the first ever Cuba Internet Freedom Conference (CIF), an event that brings together digital innovators and independent journalists from Cuba with other individuals focused on improving digital rights and fostering uncensored access for the island.

The event is organized by the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) and will be held on Monday, September 12, and Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at the Miami Ad School, in Miami’s Wynwood Art District, as part of Social Media Week Miami, which runs the entire week, until Friday, September 16th.

For the first time ever, a group of developers, policy makers, nonprofit professionals, entrepreneurs, concerned citizens and others, will share a space with Cuban Internet innovators on a exchange of ideas that aims at educating people about the actual situation of the internet in Cuba.  ‘Who can connect and how?’, ‘ Cuba’s underground network, ‘Internet as a universal right’, and ‘Circumvention and Censorship’, will be some of the topics of the conference.  The attendee’s list includes leaders from Cuba, such as Rosa María Payá (Let Cuba Decide), Eliecer Ávila (Cuba, Somos+), Yaima Pardo (Cuba, OFF_LINE documentary), Miriam Celaya (Cuba, sin EVAsión), who will be joined by other experts like Prof. Ted Henken (Baruch College, CUNY), Prof. Larry Press (California State University Dominguez Hills), and Ernesto Hernández Busto (Penúltimos Días, España).

During two days of sessions, panels and workshops, the Miami Ad School will be filled with Cuban digital pioneers and thought-leaders, to share Internet issues in and out of the island. CIF is free and open to the public, and any one can follow the conversation using the hashtag #CubaIF.

Cuba is a place that has long been catalogued by the organization Freedom House, as the Western Hemisphere’s most restrictive environment for information and communication technologies, and having one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in the world. Just recently, the United Nations declared Internet access as a basic human right, and Cuba opposed the move.

About OCB

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting oversees Radio and Television Martí at its headquarters in Miami, Florida. The Martís are a multimedia hub of news, information and analysis that provide the people of Cuba with interactive programs seven days a week through satellite television and shortwave and AM radio, as well as through flash drives, emails, DVDs, and SMS text. Combined with the online platform, martinoticias.com, the Martís are a one-of-a-kind service that brings unbiased, objective information to all Cubans.

About the BBG

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international media. Its mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí). BBG programming has a measured audience of 278 million in more than 100 countries and in 61 languages.