Miami (September 7, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (SIP) expressed concern about the defenselessness of those who practice journalism and cover social protests in Haiti. The entity condemned the actions of the gangs that continue to attack, kidnap, and assassinate communicators with total impunity.
Dozens of journalists residing in the crowded Carrefour-Feuilles neighborhood southwest of Port-au-Prince were victims of violence the Grand Ravine gang carried out. Some communicators left the area due to arson attacks against their homes, according to information compiled by Javier Valdivia, a special collaborator of the IAPA.
Three journalists have been assassinated this year: Paul Jean Marie of Radio Lumière on May 5; Ricot Jean of Radio-Télé Évolution Inter on April 25; and Dumesky Kersaint of Radio Télé Inurep on April 18.
Seven journalists have been kidnapped: Blondine Tanis, from Radio Rénovation; Marie Lucie Bonhomme, from Radio Vision 2000 and owner of Télé Pluriel; Pierre Louis Opont, Bonhomme's husband and co-owner of Télé Pluriel; Robert Dénis, from TV Canal Bleu and current president of the National Association of Haitian Media; Lebrun Saint-Hubert, from community radio 2000; Jean Thony Lorthé, from Radio Vision 2000, and Sandra Duvivier, from TV channel 5.
The president of the IAPA and Global Head of Licensing and Print Innovation for The New York Times, Michael Greenspon, urged the international community to "continue denouncing the wave of violence suffered by journalists who live and work in precarious conditions."
The president of the IAPA Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and journalistic director of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior, Carlos Jornet, warned that "the precarious situation of Haitian journalism is aggravated by the lack of justice and impunity for the attacks, which leave those who carry out the activity defenseless."
Greenspon and Jornet asked the Haitian government to guarantee journalism's free and safe exercise. They also urged American press organizations to prevent violence against Haitian journalism from being left off the international agenda.
Other gang victims include Réginald Esaie Orélus and Richardson Jourdan of Haitian National Television (TNH); Jacques Desrosiers from the Association of Haitian Journalists; Celou Flécher and Dessources Dieumaitre from Le Facteur and Fact Checking News, and Samuel Dallemand and Rubens Artist from Télé Ginen. Also victims were Jean Yves Saint-Louis, from Radio Lumière; Kettia Marcellus, Solidarity of Haitian Women Journalists; Jacques Stevenson Saint-Louis, from Radio Educativa, from the Ministry of Education; Arnold Junior of Galaxie radio; Judex Vélima, from Télé Espace, and Arnold Junior Pierre, from Radio Télé Galaxie, whose home was burned down in August.
On August 11, Brown Larose, from Radio Télé Éclair, was shot at in the municipality of Delmas. Roberson Alphonse, from Le Nouvelliste and presenter on the Magik 9 station, also suffered an attack in that community.
Protesters often verbally or physically attack reporters covering political marches or rallies. On July 31, Radio Galaxie reporter Arnold Junior Pierre was beaten by hooded individuals. On July 20, reporters Daniel Lamartinière, from the Vant Bèf info website, and Jameson Jean Baptiste, from JB Média, were beaten by a police officer while covering a demonstration against the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
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.