Freedom of Expression

Press Release 95/03


The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Eduardo A. Bertoni, condemned the aggressions to which the Haitian press has been subject in the past weeks.  

According to information received by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, on Tuesday, October 28, unidentified individuals opened fire on the premises of Radio Caraïbes, in Port-au-Prince , while shouting slogans against the station.  The following day, the station decided to suspend its transmissions in order to evaluate the situation and ensure the safety of its journalists.  

Radio Maxima, in Cabo-Haitiano, to the North of the country, also allegedly suspended its transmissions due to death threats and aggressions against its journalists.  

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression has followed the unfolding of the events in Haiti with concern, and has learned of reports of threats to Haitian journalists and communications media that, given their repetition, do not appear to be isolated occurrences.  

The Special Rapporteur once again expresses his profound concern for the situation of freedom of expression in Haiti .  

On presenting the Report on the situation of freedom of thought and expression in Haiti , last July in Port-au-Prince , Bertoni had already verified that: "The acts of harassment and threats directed against journalists are indicative of an atmosphere of intimidation and intolerance for the exercise of journalism in Haiti ."  The State responded to this report with a letter dated August 27, in which it states that the events described in the report are not the result of the deliberate will of the Government.  

In face of the persistence of the acts of harassment and threats against journalists, the Special Rapporteur reminds the State of its obligation to ensure the protection necessary to allow the free and full exercise of the right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, ratified by Haiti .   

Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
Washington , D.C. , October 30, 2003 .