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a412: Haiti: Haitian journalist says government must act on threats(fwd)

From: Robert Benodin <r.benodin@worldnet.att.net>

Haiti: Haitian journalist says government must act on threats
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 18, 2002
AJH [Association of Haitian Journalists] Secretary-General Guyler C. Delva
says he takes seriously the threats made against him by pro-Lavalas people's
organizations. Delva, who was supposed to go to Saint-Marc with a journalist
who had been persecuted in this region, says he will not stop accompanying
threatened media workers in Haiti. He adds that the judicial authorities
must do something about the verbal attacks he is experiencing. Delva's
statements follow:
[Delva] We take these threats very seriously. This shows how difficult it is
to practice the profession of journalism in Haiti. When you consider the
explicit death threats uttered against us by Clean-up members, who say
clearly and openly that they will assassinate us, that they will assassinate
me... The first thing that I ask for is that the officials, the political
authorities, including the president of the republic...
Clean-up is an organization that is working for the government and that
claims to be close to the Lavalas Family [FL]. We know that President
Aristide is the head of state and the leader of the FL. We want him to
intervene directly. We also want the police and the judicial authorities to
intervene to have the people arrested, to have the persons who made these
threats arrested. The public prosecutor of the region has heard these
threats. He should make sure that the men do not carry out these threats.
But what I mean more clearly is that, in the next few hours, in the next few
days, I am following the situation very closely. I will watch what is said,
and if the president of the republic, the justice officials, and the police
do not take any measures, do not say anything, or do not take any decision
against those people, we will then assume, we will conclude that they back
these actions, that they support these actions and that they are therefore
as responsible for whatever might happen as those who made these threats,
that is, Clean-up, Rene Civil [head of the Youth for People's Power (JPP)
organization], or anyone else who makes such threats against the press while
the authorities do not say anything.
[Correspondent] We have learned that you had to enter the city of Saint-Marc
with a journalist from that region who has received threats. What about this
[Delva] Indeed, we had to go to Saint-Marc today, 16 January, because a
journalist there has had difficulties. He went into hiding. He is in
Port-au-Prince with us, and he wants to go back there. I want to go there to
meet with the authorities to learn what the problems are and how they can
guarantee that the journalist can resume his duties, because he has
abandoned Saint-Marc. [Words indistinct] This is the case of a journalist
who wants, who is trying to see if he can go back home to work. But the men
say no. Given their current reaction and the fact that the Clean-up members
are the very people who were persecuting the journalist,
I believe that the country's authorities, the police and judicial
authorities have to pass a test. This test is extremely important to us
because you frequently used to hear us say - and we always assert so - that
despite all the constraints, all the hindrances, and all the attacks on the
freedom of the press, the latter is not gagged. I continue to say so. But if
the authorities do not do anything, I will assume that it is the
government's policy to attack the press. Then we will draw the necessary
conclusions and will know how to react to the government.
[Correspondent] Will these verbal attacks reduce the zeal or the ardour that
you used to show when a journalist is persecuted in the country?
[Delva] No, that is out of the question. We made a promise, and we have a
responsibility that the journalists have given us. We will not give up our
responsibility. We will not leave Haiti. We will not go and hide under a
bed. We will not go into hiding. We are here. If some people want to do what
they have said, they can do it. We will not run away. We will not go into
hiding. Therefore, we have asked the officials to assume their
responsibilities, because whatever happens will fall within their
Source: Signal FM Radio, Port-au-Prince, in Creole 1230 gmt 17 Jan 02
/BBC Monitoring/  BBC.