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9923: Minister Guy Paul's comments in more detail (fwd)

From: Tttnhm@aol.com

Haiti: Minister questions political affiliation, objectivity of journalists 
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 7, 2001

Text of report by Haitian Radio Vision 2000 on 6 December

Culture and Communication Minister Guy Paul has commented on the murder of [radio journalist] Brignol Lindor. Paul stresses that Lindor was killed not as a journalist but as a member of the Democratic Convergence. He nevertheless acknowledges that it is a horrible act that should not be tolerated. Paul spoke as follows:

[Paul - recording, in Creole] They did not attack Lindor because he was a journalist. They killed him because he was a member of the Convergence and things like that. Whether it has to do with a journalist or a member of the Convergence, we deplore it because that should not take place.

It has nothing to do with freedom of the press. Most of the time a journalist belongs to a political party. Therefore, it would be necessary for a journalist to stay away from political parties in order to do his work objectively. A journalist cannot belong to a political party and be a news reporter at the same time. The news has repercussions. Therefore, it is obvious that this will coincide with the kind of news he releases and have an effect on society and the community.

But I tell you this, as communication minister I repeat that the government has not taken any action against journalists in Haiti. This means that the press is free. It is so free that it manages to create cases of defamation without being rebuked. So, I am against the principle which says that there is no press freedom in Haiti.

It is true that there are things that are done in some sectors that come from several camps that can affect journalists in their work. But I do not want any journalist or journalists' association or any association of press barons to say that this government has taken action to prevent the press from doing its work.

[Unidentified journalist] Do you think that it will be a good report for foreign governments when they learn that journalist Lindor died in those particular circumstances?

[Paul] Listen, Lindor did not need to die in any circumstances. I do not want any member of the press or anybody else to die by violent acts. It is true that somebody has died through acts of violence and that justice should do its work. But if it has a different connotation outside, then there is nothing I can do about it.

All media, every sector has its own way of releasing their news. It is not possible for me to fight every sector. But I tell you that we deplore it, we condemn it and we do not agree with the acts of violence that are taking place in the country, either where they take place or who commits them.

Source: Radio Vision 2000, Port-au-Prince, in French 1130 gmt 6 Dec 01