Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Freedom of the Press Elusive in Haiti

Journalists in Haiti are denouncing attempts by the Haitian government to deny their freedom of speech. Radio Kiskeya reports that in December, President Michel Martelly and other officials presented large checks to 3 journalists at a meeting at the National Palace. Investigative and critical journalists are often not given equal opportunities by the government. Journalists have a real chance to make change by revealing injustice, so it’s important that these issues are addressed.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Journalists Denounce Attempts by Haitian Government to Silence Criticism

Center for Economic and Policy Research
January 27, 2015

Yesterday, Radio Kiskeya made public a letter from leaders of the station to Lucien Jura, spokesperson of the presidency, alleging that President Martelly had personally given cash to journalists at a meeting in December. The letter begins:

Radio Tele Kiskeya hereby wishes to protest – to the president of the Republic and to you [presidential spokesperson Lucien Jura] in particular – the ignoble act of corruption that you were both responsible for last December 23 when, following a reception which you invited journalists with National Palace accreditation to, you delivered envelopes to them containing fifty thousand gourdes (50,000.00 Gdes) and forty thousand gourdes (40,000.00 Gdes).

According to the information received from the concerned parties, the president of the Republic, Michel Joseph Martelly, personally offered them “a little gift that’s so modest that it’s not worth mentioning.” Subsequently, he referred them to his spokesperson, Lucien JURA, and to Esther FATAL, head of the communication office of the Presidency, who personally delivered to each one of them the ignoble seal [envelope with presidential seal] beneath the glare of the palace cameras.

The letter reports that 3 Radio Kiskeya journalists received the payment and have been “severely sanctioned.” The letter continues, writing that the actions at the National Palace reflect “the general level of deterioration of moral values at both the state level and within all of society, including the press unfortunately.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

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