This post is the second in a two-part series on the legal debate over Radio and TV Martí, the U.S. broadcasting programs aimed at Cuba. Part I explores the history of the Martís in the context of U.S.-Cuba relations and the Castro regime’s arguments against the Martís under domestic and international law. Part II discusses the possibility of dispute resolution under the International Telecommunications Union as well as a First Amendment-based defense of the Martís.
The International Telecommunications Union
The International Telecommunications Union (“ITU”) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that regulates international telecommunications. The organization seeks, among other things, “to maintain international cooperation and national use of telecommunications,” “to harmonize actions of all countries planning to use D[irect] B[roadcasting ] S[ystems],” and “to allocate and improve the use of the radio frequency spectrum.” The main institutional mechanism for addressing specific problems is the ITU’s World Administrative Radio Conferences (“WARCs”). The 1971 WARC adopted a specific Radio Regulation 428A, which requires states to reduce “spillover broadcasts” into other countries “to the maximum extent practicable” unless a previous agreement is established between the countries. While this regulation could arguably require the United States to take steps to minimize the effects of its domestic radio on Cuba, the U.S. has construed the regulation merely as a technical guideline, arguing that any broader construction would violate the “free flow” principle of Article 19 of the UDHR. Continue reading Over and Out: The Conclusion of Radio Martí After a Long History of Controversy Under Contradictory Legal Standards [Part II]