Freedom of the Press 2009 - Haiti
|Publication Date||1 May 2009|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2009 - Haiti, 1 May 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b274211c.html [accessed 14 March 2014]|
Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 15 (of 30)
Political Environment: 20 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 18 (of 30)
Total Score: 53 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)
Covers events that took place between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008.
The constitution explicitly upholds the right of journalists to freely practice their profession and forbids censorship except in the case of war. In practice, widespread poverty, a corrupt judiciary, violence, intimidation, and a tradition of excessively biased media coverage mean that journalists have had to operate in extremely difficult conditions. However, the situation has slowly and steadily improved over the past few years.
In December, a Port-au-Prince court sentenced journalist and press freedom advocate Joseph Guyler Delva to one month in prison for defaming a former senator by stating that he had failed to testify about the unsolved 2000 slaying of Haitian journalist Jean-Leopold Dominique. Guyler Delva has appealed the court's decision.
During 2008, news coverage became less partisan and more informative, reflecting the authorities' efforts to provide the media with more details and fuller explanations of government actions and policies.
No journalists were killed or forced to flee the country, and there was a further improvement in the security situation, making it easier for local and foreign journalists to cover the news. However, the Independent Commission to Support the Investigations of Assassinations of Journalists failed to make any further progress on past cases during the year.
In July, radio journalist Joachim Marcel, who had been investigating electoral corruption, was assaulted by the Cap Haitien deputy mayor and his bodyguards. The attackers also damaged equipment at the local office of Signal FM.
Radio is by far the most popular news medium, with more than 30 stations broadcasting. There are four weeklies and two newspapers that publish several times a week, all privately owned. Television Nationale d'Haiti is government owned, and there are several private television stations.
There are no government restrictions on internet access, but usage remained low at just over 11 percent of the population in 2008.