The IAPA Condemns Attacks against Haitian Journalists During Violent Protests


Miami (February 12, 2024) – The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the attacks against journalists in Haiti during coverage of violent anti-government protests in the past week, which resulted in five reporters injured. The organization urged authorities to ensure that the press can fulfill its work without fear of reprisals.

On February 8, Jean Marc Jean, a reporter for the online news outlet JJM Infos, was hit in the face by a tear gas canister fired by a police officer. This occurred while covering a demonstration in the town of Delmas, east of the capital, Port-au-Prince, as reported by Le Nouvelliste. The journalist lost an eye due to the impact.

Four other journalists were also injured by gunfire or were victims of attacks during the protests, according to information compiled by Javier Valdivia, regional vice president for Haiti of the IAPA's Commission on Press Freedom and Information.

IAPA President Roberto Rock expressed solidarity with Haitian journalists who "face numerous dangers during the coverage of the political crisis in a climate of increasing violence." Rock, director of the Mexican news site La Silla Rota, called on authorities to "act decisively and provide minimum safety guarantees so that journalists can provide information of great public interest."

Le Nouvelliste estimates that at least a dozen journalists were injured during the recent protests. On February 7, Ymozan Wilborde of Tande Koze, an outlet that broadcasts on social media, was shot in the left leg, while Stanley Belfort, a correspondent for Island TV, was shot in the hand while both were covering a demonstration in the city of Jérémie, the capital of the Grand'Anse department, 292 kilometers west of Port-au-Prince.

In the same district, Lémy Brutus, a reporter for Grandans Bèl Depatman, another social media broadcasting outlet, was mistreated, and his work equipment was stolen. On the same day, journalist Alain Charles was shot during an attack by the Kokorat San Ras gang on a police station in Gros-Morne, 170 kilometers north of the capital, according to press reports.

The president of IAPA's Freedom of the Press and Information Committee, Carlos Jornet, said, "We are extremely concerned about the impact of this wave of violence on the work of the press." Jornet, editorial director of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior, urged the international community to "condemn the increase in violence against the press, the lack of government protection, and the impunity of the attackers."

The situation in Haiti has deteriorated since the beginning of the month due to protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

The year 2023 was also violent for the press, with numerous attacks against journalists during coverage of demonstrations, according to the IAPA archives. Five reporters were kidnapped, and three journalists were killed: Paul Jean Marie, Ricot Jean, and Dumesky Kersaint. To date, no one has been arrested for these crimes.

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.