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#4296: Press/Police : A reply to Morse


In a message dated 6/19/00 11:44:19 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
bcorbett@netcom.com, Richard Morse writes:

<<Its been six years since the return of Aristide and we still don't have 
 freedom of speech and freedom of the press or freedom of political 
 opposition. What makes anyone think we'll have it in the near future. >>

Freedom of speech?
I am truly surprised. This is the first time I've heard someone say that 
there is no freedom of speech in Haiti now. That is a new one.

I once in a while listen to  Haitian stations from the New York region, that 
reports over the U.S. airwaves, what is happening in Haiti. I on those 
occasions, personally hear members of the opposition attacking the government 
and forcefully so. I am just hoping that I did not understand the words 
written here (no freedom of speech in Haiti).

Freedom of the press? Oh, oh!!
The freedom of the press issue can be more or less used politically. Still, 
there are no causes to pretend that there is no freedom of the press in 
Haiti. I believe after Jean Dominique's death, many independent journalists 
got scared and either went into hiding, or became more careful about their 
report. That, I thought was why last week, the Haitian journalists in Haiti 
decided to reorganize themselves and reconstitute their group (l'Association 
des Journalistes Haïtiens). They feel pressured, just like everyone else 
right now who is involved in Haiti's political process.

Freedom of political opposition? Hum!! 
That's another "interesting" argument to put it mildly. Who is there to 
believe that? We have more than 60 political parties in Haiti, with close to 
thirty of them registered as such. The opposition leaders come and go as they 
please. They travel within and outside the country, and return safely to 
their homes. They've actively campaigned in the media and throughout the 
country for the last elections. Where does that lack of freedom of political 
opposition come from?

There are so many important issues to discuss on the subject of Haiti. Why 
not tackle those issues instead? I think a few Corbetters have done quite a 
good job here, discussing issues such as economic development and so forth. 
Why would someone decide that those three basic freedoms do not exist in 
Haiti as of today, June 19, 2000? It's going to take me a very long time to 
understand that argument, let alone value it.

By the way, is that what the next p.r. campaign going to be about? Was that 
statement just a test of how truly stupid we are?

Hyppolite Pierre