Ever since gaining independence in 1804, Haiti’s political, economic and social development has been overshadowed by violence. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent of its population living under the poverty level. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Haiti are still limited. Though the current administration is trying to stabilize the country, there are frequent acts of violence against journalists and the general public. Fearing retaliation from gangs, common criminals, and supporters of political groups, most journalists exercise self-censorship. So do most ordinary Haitians, who are afraid to express their opinions freely. This period was marked by a number of violent incidents targeting journalists. On January 19, freelance photographer Jean-Rémy Badio was killed at his home in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Martissant. The murder has been linked to gang members in Martissant, where violent clashes have taken place between rival gangs. Badio had photographed some of these clashes and would offer his work to local media outlets. Family members say that Badio had received threats before he was killed. Also in Martissant, several members of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) assaulted François Louis, a photographer for the newspaper Le Nouvelliste, during a demonstration in early November. MINUSTAH officials later apologized to the newspaper and Louis. The murders of Jean Leopold Dominique on April 3, 2000, and Brignol Lindor on December 3, 2001, remain unpunished, and no progress has been made in prosecuting these cases.