IAPA Midyear Meeting 2016
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
April 8-11

In these past six months the country has gone through a polarized political crisis regarding the election of the next president following the suspension on two occasions of the second electoral stage amid violent protests by the opposition and accusations of electoral fraud.

Michel Martelly, a former businessman and musician, gave up the Presidency on February 7 without there being a successor. On February 14 Parliament elected as the new interim president former Parliament Leader Jocelerme Privert, who will serve for a 120-day period. A new round of elections is scheduled for April 24. Parliament approved until the end of March the second candidate of interim president, Enex Jean-Charles, to occupy the post of provisional prime minister, a post necessary to move ahead with the installation of a new Electoral Council with a view to the presidential and legislative elections and for the installation of a new cabinet.

In this period there continued to be an atmosphere of harassment and threats.

On November 24 the owner of radio station RTZ thwarted an attack by a group of armed individuals on the radio station and accused members of the police force of being in connivance with the criminals.

On December 1 Radio Kiskeya Télé in Port-au-Prince reported gunfire against its premises.

The general managers of both radio stations reported having received death threats.

During his last week in the Presidency Martelly, whose artistic name is Sweet Micky, sang a song in which he mocks his critics and also has sexual implications directed at a female journalist.

Martelly was criticized on several occasions for using inappropriate language and having a disdainful attitude towards journalists and local media.

International organizations that defend press freedom consider that the flow of information and opinions in Haiti is "partially free." While it is recognized that in the last decade there has been an improvement in the defense of constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and of the press a legal vacuum is felt, there continue unpunished cases of the murder of journalists and defamation offenses remain uncriminalized.

In the country there are some 300 radio stations, one state-owned television, 60 privately-owned television channels, several weeklies and two daily newspapers. In 2014 it was estimated that only 11% of Haitians had access to the Internet.