Cuba’s latest television channel breaks away from tradition with different formats, young staff and a ‘revolutionary’ agenda.

The new channel, Canal Caribe, was launched on March 14 and includes former employees of TeleSUR, the Latin American TV network group. For the first time, it will transmit through HD-1. Originally conceived as an alternative to the national content, the channel is setting itself apart from the traditional news programmes.

“We saw the necessity and the utility for which Cuba, through its international outlook and revolutionary force, evidently needed a channel that amplified and made known all this information,” said Ovidio Cabrera García, the channel’s director.

Canal Caribe will be uniquely dedicated to news broadcasts, from 08.30 in the morning until 12 at night and will make use of live broadcasting, international correspondents via Skype and the use of social media sites – all of which is new for traditional Cuban TV.

The channel arrives as the island undergoes digital transition although its digital nature has already drawn some criticism. A journalist for the national newspaper Escambray argued that Canal Caribe will hardly be inclusive, as it will only be available to people who already have a hybrid television or an HD Box, thus limiting its reach. However, the channel is keen to appeal to the vast majority of the public, especially young people.

Canal Caribe has indeed invested in its formats, with young employees and a varied digital content that aims to appeal to the younger generation. Youth audiences currently engage little with State TV and often rely on an offline form of file-sharing via hard-drives to keep up with the news.

In addition to the news bulletins, the channel will feature cultural, science and sports segments as well as one on digital content. The vast majority of this content will be broadcast live.

Speaking to the BBC, Cabrera communicated the revolutionary feel of Canal Caribe.

“This is a channel for more revolution,” he told the BBC. “We won’t shy away from criticising what isn’t working, from making suggestions, from analysing and discussing social problems, but always through the prism of supporting the revolutionary process, not against it.”

Cabrera and the rest of the team recognises the challenges and the transforming phase they are currently operating in. But they are all committed to providing “an adequate image that essentially helps the country, the people, with all the social and economic information and all the history that we have.”