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a480: HAITI : Five Hatian journalists threatened by governmentsupporters (fwd)

From: RSF Americas <ameriques@rsf.org>

Five Hatian journalists threatened by government supporters

Without Borders (RSF) protested to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide today against the threats made by his supporters to five local
journalists, including <bold>Guyler Delva,</bold> secretary-general of
the Haitian Journalists' Association."We ask you to firmly condemn
these threats and their authors and ensure the safety of journalists,"
RSF secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to the president.
He added that RSF, which has denounced "the atmosphere of terror
developing in Haiti," would hold the Haitian government responsible for
the fate of the five reporters.

RSF learns that members of the organisation Youth People's Power (JPP),
which has ties to Aristide, on 21 January gave Delva 48 hours to
withdraw his legal complaint against JPP leader René Civil or else they
would "teach him a lesson" and he would face the wrath of all the other
"popular organisations." Delva had lodged a complaint against Civil on
18 January after he had threatened the journalist in a radio programme
on 15 January, accusing him of being "in the pay of foreigners" and
"betraying his fellow Haitians."  Delva said that Civil's words on the
air - "Thank you Guyler Delva, thank you, thank you, Guyler Delva" -
contained hidden threats in the Haitian Creole language. On 11 January,
Figaro Désir, leader of the pro-Aristide grassroots organisation Bale
Wouze ("Clean Sweep"), had called Delva "a traitor serving the white
foreigner" and threatened to have him "necklaced" (burned).  Désir
retracted his threats on 21 January, saying his earlier remarks had
been misinterpreted.

Four provincial journalists have fled to the capital and are in hiding
after being threatened by government supporters.  They are
<bold>Charité André</bold> and <bold>Rémy Jean,</bold> of <italic>Radio
Eben-Enzer, </italic><bold>Duc Jonathan Joseph,</bold> correspondent of
<italic>Radio Métropole</italic> in Gonaïves, and <bold>Ernst
Océan,</bold> correspondent of <italic>Radio Vision 2000,</italic> in
St. Marc.  The threats against them by supporters of the ruling Fanmi
Lavalas party increased after the apparent attempted coup d'etat of
last 17 December.  <italic>Radio Eben-Enzer,</italic> broadcasting from
the town of Mirebalais, went off the air on 15 January for lack of
security.  Those issuing the threats accuse journalists of being biased
against the government in reporting the news.

Régis Bourgeat

Despacho Américas / Americas desk

Reporters sans frontières

5, rue Geoffroy-Marie

75009 Paris - France

tél. : +33 (0) 1 44 83 84 57

fax : +33 (0) 1 45 23 11 51

e-mail : ameriques@rsf.org

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