HAITI The situation of the press has improved considerably in compari-son with previous years, dominated by the military dictatorship and restriction of public liberties. During 1977, journalists carried out their work in a more open environment favorable to gathering and publishing information. But there have been some violations of freedom of expression. The majority of these arose from "misunderstandings" with members of the Haitian National Police, an institution that replaced the Armed Forces since former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's return in 1994. The Professional Journalists Union, a group of about 30 Haitian journalists, reported a police raid on Radio Telediffussion Cayenne (RTC) about 100 miles from the capital. Radio station director Yvon Chery was arrested in the raid. The Union also reported that Raymond Clerge, director of Radio Macaya in the same city, was also arrested, taken to police headquarters in Cayes and beaten up. On June 19, border police in Malpasse on the Haitian-Dominican border physically attacked a group of journalists traveling to the Dominican Republic to take part in a journalists' training workshop. The police demanded that the journalists, members of community radio stations from several regions of the country, pay a fine not on the books. The journalists refused to pay. After an argument, journalist Zephyr Ronald was arrested by a policeman who confiscated his camera. He was taken to the police station at Croix-des-Bouquets, some 20 kilometers from the border, where he was detained until 2 a.m. He was set free, but had to sign a document in which he agreed not to make public what had happened. The National Police announced disciplinary measures against the police involved in this incident. The Professional Journalists' Union protested the use of police force against journalists. The transmitters of Radio Lumiere, a radio station belonging to the Protestant Church in Haiti, were sabotaged by unidentified individuals, who removed eqUipment after attacking the security guard. Radio Lumiere estimated the damages in thousands of dollars and could not continue transmitting on the AM frequency. Other journalists covering protests were roughed up by demonstrators last May in Puerto Principe. Students demonstrating against the government set fire to a Radio Metropole reporting team vehicle and destroyed the vehicle of a group of cameramen from the private televison network Tele-Haiti. More than 20 radio stations operate in the metropolitan area. The number of radio stations also increased in the principal provincial cities, mainly in Cap Haitien, Haiti's second largest city. Four television channels operate in Port-au-Prince. Considering that the radio is the principal media in the country, electricity shortages notably affect access to information. Radio batteries are a luxury item. Most provincial cities do not receive radio signals from the capital because the majority of radio stations transmit in FM and because of Haiti's mountainous terrain. Radio Vision 2000, which broadcasts by satellite throughout the country, Radio Metropole, Radio Haiti Inter and Radio Tropic FM are exceptions because their news bulletins are relayed by provincial radio stations. Access to sources of information is still very limited. Recently, during a strike by medical assistants in the State University Hospital of Haiti, Public Health Ministry officials prohibited journalists from entering hospital grounds to interview strikers. The country's grave crisis has pushed politicians into making negative comments about journalists who are categorized as either supporters or opponents of Lavalas, the majority ideological force in the country. Political figures have refused to grant interviews to journalists, accusing them of gathering information and opinions in favor of other sectors, comments which tarnish the image of the press in the public eye.