IAPA Assembly Condemns Murder of Journalist in Haiti

Fifth in recent months.

Miami (April 26, 2023) - The assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), which began deliberating on Tuesday to evaluate the climate of press freedom in the Americas, condemned the murder of a fifth journalist in Haiti in recent months.

Carlos Jornet, chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, warned of the new peak of violence represented by the tragic death of Ricot Jean, journalist, cultural presenter, and editorial staff member of Radio-Télé Évolution Inter of Saint-Marc.

According to information obtained by Javier Valdivia, journalist, and IAPA contributor, Jean, known as DJ For Ever, was kidnapped on April 24 with a friend in Cité Verna by four armed men wearing uniforms of the Departmental Unit for the Maintenance of Order, on the pretext of being arrested. Their bodies were found on April 25 in the morning in an uninhabited area of the commune of Saint-Marc.

Jornet, the editor of La Voz del Interior of Argentina, said: "In the face of these acts, the authorities must stop the violence and investigate the murders in depth to determine responsibilities."

Yesterday, IAPA President Michael Greenspon, inaugurating the sessions of the mid-year meeting that will last until Thursday afternoon, April 26, was categorical in affirming the tragedy of press freedom. Greenspon, Global Head of Licensing & Print Innovation for the New York Times, said: "Today there are clear signs that we are going through one of the worst moments for democracy in our Americas... the profound tragedy coming for our democracies for not respecting press freedom and freedom of expression. The deterioration of these freedoms erodes the rest of human rights, weakens institutions, and kills hope and dreams of living in a dignified manner."

The biannual report on Haiti, which will be approved tomorrow, states: "Practicing journalism continues to be difficult and risky, exposing professionals to precarious and highly vulnerable conditions. Moreover, the climate of insecurity plagues Haitian society. It has conditioned the profession, keeping the media from in-depth and proper investigations due to self-censorship."

In addition to the aggressions and murders, at least four journalists were kidnapped and later released by organized crime gangs after payment of a ransom.

Since last October, four other journalists have been murdered: Dumesky Kersaint, a journalist with Radio Télé Inurep, on April 16; Francklin Tamar, director of the "Kompa, Kompa" and "Cultural Saturday" programs on Radio Solidarité, on December 18, 2022, in Port-au-Prince; Fritz Dorilas, co-host of the program "Le droit, la loi et la justice" (The law, the law, and justice), on Radio Megastar, on November 5, 2022, in the commune of Tabarre, Port-au-Prince; and Romelo Vilsaint, reporter for Generation 80 online radio, on October 30, 2022, in Delmas, Port-au-Prince.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.