The Ongoing War on Journalists in Haiti


Gunshots were fired at Radio-Tele Ginen (RTG) during the morning of Tuesday, November 6, in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince. The attack injured a female street vendor who was subsequently hospitalized according to RTG employees. A front-side window of one of RTG’s yellow jeeps lay shattered on asphalt in front of the station.

RTG is popular with both rich and poor in Haiti. The broadcaster is respected in poor neighborhoods because it often gave a voice to the residents of Lavalas strongholds while the de facto government of 2004-2006 was in power.

Delmas Wilson Jeudy, the mayor of the community in which RTG is located, visited the station after the attack. He denounced the “bandits” responsible, but added that he did not believe the attack was part of a campaign to muzzle the press. However, he added that an investigation was being carried out to determine if anything broadcast by RTG might have provoked violence.

The director of RTG, Jean Lucien Borges, stated that the attack was typical of other attacks on journalists in Haiti. However, he could not say what, if anything, broadcast by RTG had provoked the attack.

Asked what impact the attack would have on the morale of RTG employees Borges replied by comparing RTG to a boat that takes to sea regardless of the weather and “follows its compass” undaunted.

RTG’s appeal across the political spectrum was apparent after the attack. The station was visited by members of Fanmi Lavalas but also by staunch Lavalas opponents such as RNDDH (Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains) and representatives of privately owned media. Another group, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), which has ignored many deadly attacks on poor pro-Lavalas journalists, immediately issued a statement about the attack on RTG.

The attack occurred on the heels of a recent spate of death threats that Reuters journalist Joseph Guyler Delva has reported receiving. Delva is also the director of SOS, a commission launched to investigate the killings of journalists.

Delva has suggested there may be a link with the threats against him and Senator Rudolph Boulos, a founding board member of the Haitian elite’s lobbyist organization in Washington D.C., the Haiti Democracy Project.

Last month Delva revealed on Radio Melodie FM that Senator Boulos holds US citizenship and that according to Haiti’s constitution it is illegal for a Haitian senator to hold a foreign passport. Delva has also revealed that Boulos, claiming senatorial immunity, has refused to respond to questions of Judge Fritzner Fils-Aimé in regards to the investigation into the killing of Haiti’s most well known journalist Jean Dominique of Haiti Inter.

WADNER PIERRE and Joe Emersberger contribute to HaitiAnalysis