When news broke in Cuba of Fidel Castro's death, editors across the globe started publishing obituaries that were decades in the writing.

For both Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, there is actually no such a thing as "freedom of press" in the western world - but "freedom of business", because for them, media just report what the outlet's owner want. And it was from that moment, at the beginning of the revolution, that the media war with the US began.

Fernando Ravsberg, journalist and blogger

At 90, the revolutionary outlived many of his enemies, especially when one considers all the assassination attempts - more than 600, according to the Cubans.

During his 47 years as leader, the country suffered economically under the American trade embargo, but punched above its weight politically. No other Caribbean island came close to having the kind of influence abroad that Cuba has had.

Castro's involvement in liberation struggles across Africa, including Angola and South Africa, has not been forgotten there. His outright defiance of Washington was an inspiration to some; his cosy Cold War relationship with the Soviets, a concern to others.

This is why Fidel Castro - in death, as in life - has been such a complex figure for journalists to cover, and it explains why news consumers, particularly in the US, got such varied accounts.

"Generalising the North American media is difficult. US news outlets with a lot of Cuban influence, like The Miami Herald, played a decisive role in demonising Cuba. But The New York Times has played an important role in facilitating the US-Cuba rapprochement with a red carpet of editorials that lead to Obama going to Havana. So, there has been a shift - the country is covered more objectively than the one described during the Cold War," says journalist and blogger, Fernando Ravsberg.

In Cuba, the coverage lionised Castro - evidence to many of a fawning media that could only fit comfortably under a dictatorship.

"Lenin once famously said that 'before having a political party, you need to own a newspaper' .... The media were indeed one of the most important weapons of the revolution, in order to consolidate power. However, the media's objectives are not the same any more. Today, Cuba no longer faces the same level of aggression as it did in 1959," says Sergio Gomez, editor at Granma newspaper. 

Much has changed over the almost six decades that Fidel Castro, and then his brother Raul, have ruled, but the repression of the Cuban media remained largely in place. So how will Fidel Castro's death affect the coverage and Cuba's media landscape?

Talking us through the story: Ann Louise Bardach, journalist and author; Fernando Ravsberg, journalist and blogger; Juan Tamayo, former reporter, Miami Herald; and Sergio Gomez, international editor, Granma newspaper.

Source: Al Jazeera