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Miami Herald Fires Two Reporters for Taking Pay from US Government

The Miami Herald says it has fired two reporters and a freelance journalist after discovering they were paid for taking part in program's by the U.S. government's Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

The newspaper announced Friday that the three were among 10 journalists in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida who received payments for appearances on the government's Radio Marti and TV Marti. Both services broadcast to Cuba with the mission to promote democracy. The payments are said to have been in the tens of thousands of dollars over several years.

The head of the Herald's publishing company, Jesus Diaz, said the payments are a conflict of interest that damages the reporters' credibility because they cover such issues as Radio and TV Marti for the newspaper.

Pedro Roig, who is director of the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting, told the Herald it is up to each journalist to follow his or her own ethics.

Two of the journalists in question told the paper they were merely sharing their opinions as part of a panel. Several said they did not believe the appearances were a conflict of interest.

The Herald said the payments were discovered as a result of a freedom-of-information request filed last month, under a law requiring the government to disclose certain types of information upon request.

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting is under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the parent organization of the Voice of America.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.