Haiti

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HAITI Political conflicts have aggravated restrictions of press freedom. Haiti has become an area of great concern for many international human rights and press freedom groups, especially since the overthrow of President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 1991. Several broadcast stations shut down during the coup remain closed and others, as occurred last October in Gonaives, were closed by soldiers simply because their music was associated with democracy and the rights of the poor. Journalists continue to be persecuted just for disagreeing with Gen. Raoul Cedras, and several have had to leave the country or go into hiding for fear of reprisals for criticizing the government. Several foreign correspondents, accused of "distorting reality," were accosted and forced to leave the country after threats on their lives. Others were detalned, had their news materials confiscated and were barred from reporting. This continual harassment of the media and journalists, often carried out by the so-called" attaches," has resulted in a strong self-censorship, leaving the Haitian public to rely on foreign radio and TV broadcasts - notably the Voice or America and Cable News Network - for accurate information on what is happening in the country. Many journalists got their jobs thanks to connections with the military rulers. When Prime Minister Robert Malval named new directors of the state-owned radio and television stations, journalists named by the military showed fierce opposition to leaving their jobs. November 1992 - Levious Toussaint, Radio Lumiere, and Simon Flambert, Radio Soleil, are believed to have been hiding out since this date. Nov. 12, 1992 - John Patrick Slavin,The Miami Herald, Florida, was attacked in Port-au-Prince by military men "for erroneously interpreting information that created a climate of panic with the goal of provoking the police forces." Nov. 12, 1992 - Clarence Renois, Radio Metropole, and Jean Max Blanc, Voice or America, were detained by the armed forces during a student demonstration against the coup leaders. Nov. 16, 1992 - Forty employees of the government-owned newspaper L'Union went on strike to demand the resignation of the editor, Alexandre Azard. Three days later, in a letter sent to Information Minister Andre Calixte, they accused Azard of having issued death threats against the staff. Jan. 1, 1993 - The authorities closed the government-owned newspaper L'Union for reorganization because of the problems that had arisen at the end of the year with editor Alexandre Azard. Jan. 15, 1993 - Norluck Dorange, Haiti en Marche, Miami, Florida, was accused of hiding arms in his house in Port-au-Prince - which was searched but no such cache was found. His passport was confiscated. Jan. 26, 1993 - Elder Amadeus, owner of one of the principal radio stations, was detained by the military and accused of producing a subversive program. Feb. 1, 1993 - Photographers Dominique Levanti, Agence France-Presse, and Daniel Morrel of The Associated Press and reporters Michael Norton, AP, and Michael Tarr, Reuters, were roughed up at the Port-au-Prince airport while covering the arrival of the U.N. envoy. Feb. 4, 1993 - Rotchild Fran~ois Jr., Radio Metropole, was chased and threatened by pro-government demonstrators while covering the departure of U.N. envoy Dante Caputo at Port-au-Prince airport. Feb. 7, 1993 - Carlson Dorme, Radio Tropic FM, was abducted, beaten and blackmailed by members of the armed forces acting for the government. Feb. 11, 1993 - Fran~ois Guilloteau, Radio Metropole, was detained by police during a pro-Aristide demonstration at the medical school in Port-au-Prince. Feb. 26, 1993 - Arlette Josuee, Voice of America, was detained and beaten by police while she was covering a church service for those who drowned when the boat "Neptune" sank. March 30, 1993 - Masner Beauplan (correspondent in Hinche of Radio Tropic) was arrested by soldiers because he was carrying a publication of the Group of Reflection and Action for Freedom of the Press. He was freed the next day. April 11, 1993 - Ernest Ocean, Radio Tropic FM, was detained and savagely beaten by military authorities before being released 24 hours later. He was accused of distributing leaflets supporting Jean Bertrand Aristide. May 1993 - Alexis Montfort (correspondent of Radio Tropic FM in Port de Paix) was threatened by the military commander and forced to leave the district. May 5, 1993 - Orius Fritzon (correspondent of Radio Haiti in Petit Riviere d'Artibonite) was savagely beaten by armed men a day after he had demonstrated for Freedom of the Press Day. June 29, 1993 - Information Minister Andre Calixte warned representatives of the news agencies AP, Reuters, AFP and Agence Haitienne de Presse to temper their reports on the military-instigated violence that occurred at the church in Bel-Air. June 27, 1993 - Marius Emmanuel, Tropic FM, and TaccolaJean Pretty, Radio Plus, were held by the military after they covered an anti-government demonstration. July 9, 1993 - Claudy Vilme, photographer for Le Nouvelliste, was held and beaten by six armed men wearing civilian clothing and riding in military vehicles. July 9,1993 - Eddy Alcindor, photographer for Haiti Progres of New York, had his camera and film confiscated as he tried to take pictures of the violent arrest of a political activist. Aug, 3, 1993 - Robinson Joseph, Radio Lumiere, was killed by police in Port-au-Prince. Sept. 3, 1993 - John Smith Dominique Prien, Radio Plus, suffered an attempt on his life at his home by a group of soldiers who fired their weapons and wrecked his house. He was able to escape by climbing a wall and has been hiding out since. Sept. 7, 1993 - Patricia Benoit, Global Vision Agency, was attacked by auxiliary police as she filmed the outside oUhe mayor's office in Port-au-Prince. Benoit said her attackers told her that if she had been Haitian she would have been killed. Sept. 8, 1993 - Emmanuel Laurent, Tropic FM, was attacked by police auxiliaries during a ceremony for the return of the legitimate mayor of Port-au-Prince, Evans Paul. He was taken to hospital by Red Cross personnel. Sept. 10, 1993 - A group of 20 heavily-armed men stormed into Radio Caribes, insulting and threatening the journalists there. They said they would blow up the station if it continued broadcasting news reports. Sept. 11, 1993 - Daniel Morel, an AP photographer, was attacked along with other journalists during the Mass at which Antoine Izmery was killed. Sept. 11, 1993 - Patrick Moussigac, director of Radio Caribes, received an anonymous telephone call in which he was told that "after Izmery it will be your turn." He fled to Miami after his cousin, who has the same name, was threatened on the street by a group of police auxiliaries. Sept. 17, 1993 - Thirty state radio and television reporters who worked for the military government and who had been suspended from their jobs by the new government, took over the state broadcast stations in Port-au-Prince with police backing. Sept. 20, 1993 - Radio Tropic FM was intimidated. Oct. 4, 1993 - Employees of Radio Nationale refused to leave their jobs on the return of Jean Bertrand Aristide. A senior government source, who did not want to be identified, said that the position of the military-appointed journalists had the support of the police. Oct. 5, 1993 - As Prime Minister Robert Malval installed the new directors of state-owned radio and television stations, heavily armed men created a disturbance outside the building. Oct. 26, 1993 - In Gonaives, soldiers ordered two radio stations shut down after they broadcast music associated with democracy and the rights of the poor. The whereabouts of the following journalists remain unknown: Herald Gabiliste and Jean Ellie Pierre Louis, Radio Antilles, missing since Sept. 30, 1991, during the coup d'etat that overthrew President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Felix Lamy, director of Radio Galaxy, missing since Dec. 10, 1991. It is believed he was kidnapped because he was leading an investigation of corruption and rebellion in the armed forces. He was tortured at the Fourth Police Station in Port-au-Prince. There were several rumors that his body had been found shortly after the date of his disappearance. A year later, Haitian authorities offiCially declared him missing.

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