Miami (December 19, 2023) – The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) denounced the disappearance of a journalist and the Kidnapping of another communicator in Haiti. The entity condemned acts of violence and insecurity that put the press at severe risk and called on the international community to support the work of local journalists.
Two recent cases in Port-au-Prince, the capital city, are causing concern and alarm in Haitian media. Last Friday, the disappearance of journalist Barnatte Daniel from Regard FM was reported. At the same time, Radio Scoop FM presenter Pierre-Fils Saintamour was kidnapped at the end of November and later released on December 8, according to information gathered by IAPA Vice President for Haiti, Javier Valdivia.
IAPA President Roberto Rock and the President of the Committee on Press Freedom and Information, Carlos Jornet, lamented "the danger in which local journalists carry out their work, becoming victims of criminals." Rock, the director of the Mexican portal La Silla Rota, and Jornet, the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior editor, called on the international community and press organizations "to constantly denounce the violence faced by colleagues in Haiti."
Daniel hosted his radio program on December 15. Since then, his whereabouts are unknown. The journalist had received phone threats in 2021 when he worked for another station, Radio Zénith FM.
Saintamour was kidnapped on November 27, along with his two children and pregnant wife. After paying a large sum, his family was released before the journalist's release on December 8.
Rock and Jornet added that "impunity, the inaction of authorities, and the lack of protection contribute to the continuity of violence in the country and against the press."
This year, three journalists have been killed – Paul Jean Marie on May 5, Ricot Jean on April 24, and Dumesky Kersaint on April 16. Another three were kidnapped – Marie Lucie Bonhomme Opont, Pierre Louis Opont, and Blondine Tanis.
Since April, a dozen journalists have been forced to leave their homes due to threats and violence from criminal gangs, and protesters have verbally and physically attacked numerous reporters during the coverage of marches or political rallies. IAPA has condemned the actions of the gangs, which continue to attack, kidnap, and kill communicators with total impunity.
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.