MIAMI, Florida (January 14, 2010)–The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expressed its solidarity with the people of Haiti during the tragedy that enveloped the Caribbean nation and offered its support to the news media there. Despite the natural disaster, they “have gone out of their way with great sacrifice to inform and serve their people with only sparse resources and the Internet.”
The IAPA noted that although the earthquake-caused catastrophe in Haiti silenced practically all news media, it has set off worldwide mobilization through online media and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre expressed the IAPA’s “complete solidarity with the Haitian people and in particular with the news media who, after suffering this devastating blow by nature, have gone out of their way with great sacrifice to inform and serve their people with only sparse resources and the Internet.”
Aguirre, managing editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, added, “First reports indicate that members of journalists’ families are among the many lives lost in Haiti. Even under these circumstances, many Haitian news men and women continue to carry out their work and provide guidance to society at its most difficult moment – a task which without a doubt requires and will continue to require a heroic effort by all.”
Facebook reported that since the earthquake struck it has received an average of 1,500 entries per minute containing the word Haiti. Yele Haiti, an aid Web site launched by Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean, was the second most active Twitter account on Wednesday.
The CNN’s iReport.com has also served as a valuable link between the Haitian community in the United States and their compatriots back home.
Only one radio station remained operational following the earthquake. With the collapse of telephone lines Skype connections have played a major role in communications as massive international aid begins to arrive.
The IAPA president said, “Our solidarity goes out especially to our colleague Max Chauvet, editor of the Port-au-Prince newspaper Le Nouvelliste, who has on many occasions joined the IAPA in acts on behalf of press freedom in the Americas, always faithful to the liberty-loving tradition of the very people of Haiti who are suffering today and seeking the aid of us all.”
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org