Haiti

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Report to the 75th General Assembly of the IAPA

October 4 – 7, 2019

Coral Gables, Florida

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A journalist was murdered in mid-year and another six were wounded, amid an alarming worsening of the violence that has left three dozen dead and a hundred injured in this period.

The situation led in July to the resignation of Prime Minister Jean-Michel Lapin – which was not even ratified – after taking on the role in March when a parliamentary censorship motion fired the then head of government Jean Henry Ceant.

In replacement of Lapin President Moise named technocrat Fritz William Michel, but in the second week of September a group of demonstrators of the opposition occupied the Senate of the Republic to prevent the ratification of the new prime minister.

The protests against the current president held the economy half paralyzed and differences between the Executive Branch and the Parliament have not allowed the formation of a new government.

Rospide Pétion, a journalist with the local radio station Radio Sans Fin (RSF), was killed in Port-au-Prince on June 10 during protests calling for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. Pétion, aged 45, was returning to his home in a radio station vehicle when an unidentified person shot him. In his last broadcast he had referred to accusations of corruption against Moise and an attack in which three vehicles of the Radio Telé Ginen station were set on fire.

During that escalation there were injured reporters Michel Dominique and Esdra Jeudy, colleagues of Pétion in RSF, journalist Richardson Jourdan of TNH08, and news photographer of the newspaper Le Nouvelliste Lesly Dorcin. There was also an armed attack on the Zenith FM radio station. On July 16 Kendi Zidor, editorial writer of the newspaper Le National and editor-in-chief of radio station Solidarité, was shot in a neighborhood to the east of Port-au-Prince while he was driving his vehicle.

On September 23 Senator Jean-Marie Ralph Fethiere of the governing party shot at demonstrators who were protesting outside the Parliament in Port-au-Prince and wounded in the jaw a photographer of the Associated Press news agency.

Following the murder of Pétion and the constant attacks on the press the National Association of Haitian Media (ANNH) and the Association of Indpendent Media of Haiti (AMIH) requested security for their memebrs and full freedom to carry out their work.

The disappearance of news photographer Vladjimir Legagneur marked in early 2019 one year without the authorities having solved the case, despite the insistence of the victim's family, national media and organizations dedicated to the defense of press freedom and human rights.

Legagneur disappeared on March 14, 2018 and the police only reported on the finding of his body in a neighborhood where the newsman was seen for the last time and it would be submitted to investigations that are still awaited.

Since 2000 more than a dozen Haitian journalists have been murdered: in 2013 Georges Henry Honorat, in charge of the weekly paper Haiti Progrés, and Pierre-Richard Alexandre, correspondent of a national radio station; in 2012 Benson Roc, correspondent of radio Contact FM, and Jean Liphéte Nelson, director of Boukman radio; in February 2011 journalist Richard Louis Charles.

Among the most renowned cases are the murders of Jean Dominique on April 3, 2000 and that of Jacques Roche, found on July 14, 2005 after being kidnapped four days earlier. Also those of freelance photographer Jean-Rémy Badio on January 19, 2007, radio host François Latour on May 23, 2007 and Alix Joseph, managing director and host of Radio-Telé Provinciale de Gonaîves on May 16, 2007.

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