UPDATE 1-Cuban blogger to launch island's first independent online newspaper

jueves 15 de mayo de 2014 16:06 GYT

(Adds quotes from Sanchez, details on content, staff and Internet access)

By Daniel Trotta

HAVANA May 15 (Reuters) - Cuba's prize-winning dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez is launching the island's first independent digital newspaper next week to challenge the communist-ruled country's state-controlled media.

Sanchez said the online publication will be named "14ymedio," in honor of the year of its launch and the 14th floor Havana apartment where she writes her popular Generation Y blog on daily life and politics in Cuba.

Going up against Cuba's heavy media restrictions will be difficult for her team of 11 journalists, she admitted on her blog on Wednesday.

"In recent weeks we have seen a preview of how official propaganda will demonize us for creating this medium," Sanchez wrote, adding that several of her online team have received warning calls from Cuban state security officials ahead of the official launch on May 21.

Public criticism of Cuba's communist system can be considered enemy propaganda, punishable by stiff jail sentences.

Most Cubans will not be able to read the new publication. Only 2.6 million out of a population of 11.2 million have access to the Internet. And most of those who do have only been able to explore a limited, state-controlled basket of approved websites.

Sanchez, 38, has won several prestigious media awards in the United States and Europe and has been included on Time magazine's annual list of 100 most influential people.   Continuación...