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Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Haiti

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1997
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Haiti, February 1997, available at: [accessed 22 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Physical attacks against the Haitian press diminished significantly as Haiti entered its second year of democratic rule, edging further away from the decades of political turmoil that had traumatized the country and stifled the press. Two of the main protagonists of violence against the press – the now-demobilized Haitian military and right-wing paramilitary groups that supported past dictatorial regimes – have largely receded from the political landscape.

The Haitian media focused on building professionalism in the industry by forging economically viable press institutions that can provide information in both French and Creole. In addition, some media institutions began to explore educational programs to train professional journalists.

Haiti re-established press freedom in Sept. 1994, when a U.S.-led multinational invasion ousted the 3-year-old military regime. But a general lack of openness in the government of President René Préval, limited access to information, and a reluctance on the part of the population to engage in criticism remain significant impediments to press freedom. Some troubling incidents during the year reminded journalists that they are not far removed from the period of repression and absence of press freedom. On several occasions, national police obstructed reporters' and photographers' access to news events. "People are still very sensitive to any gathering of the clouds," said one reporter based in Port-au-Prince. "We are not that far from hell, so we feel the heat."

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