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Cuba Tries to Reboot its Creaky State News Apparatus

FILE - A television shows Cuba's President Raul Castro speaking during a television broadcast in Havana, Dec. 17, 2014.

The Cuban government is trying to reboot its Soviet-era news apparatus with a high-definition current affairs channel staffed by young journalists.

The Caribe channel is starting slowly, with three-and-a-half hours of programming a night on a new channel available to a few hundred thousand viewers who have bought high-definition decoder boxes.

Producers say they hope to eventually expand to nearly round-the-clock programming. That's a niche currently occupied only by Telesur, a regional news channel financed by leftist Latin American governments.

Caribe channel producers say their programming premiering Tuesday night will be less dogmatic and more openly critical than traditional Cuban state television, whose reporting rarely goes beyond repeating communiques from government ministries. Cuban state media are facing increasing competition from more widely available online sources as internet access expands.