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Haiti - Politic : Risk of Censorship of Journalists in Haiti
16/04/2014 10:22:06

Haiti - Politic : Risk of Censorship of Journalists in Haiti
Following the publication of a call to order of the National Council of Telecommunications Haiti (CONATEL) denouncing "some radio stations, in violation of the provisions of the Penal Code and the laws and regulations of telecommunications, broadcasting systematically false information likely to disturb public order, to destabilize the institutions of the Republic and to undermine the integrity of many citizens. In its statement CONATEL recalls the monopoly situation of telecommunications services by the State and the applicable sanctions for any breach of information dissemination http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-10916-haiti-politic-the-conatel-call-to-order-radio-stations.html

Alarmed by such a call to order and threats that this press release represents for press freedom, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) feared a negative impact on the performance of the work of journalists in Haiti. "We are worried by the current political climate, which reflects a desire to gag critical media. This kind of authoritarian discourse just encourages journalists to censor themselves and is counter-productive. Interior minister Réginald Delva should get CONATEL to retract this worrying statement," declared said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk.

If the release of CONATEL, does not designate any particular media, says RSF "but, immediately afterwards, CONATEL issued a summons to Radio Télé Zénith accusing it of defaming the government. The station’s CEO, Rony Colin, rejected the accusation the next day (April 11), and received the support of SOS Journalistes, a local NGO that defends the media."

Reacting to this release, Réginald Delva, the new Minister of the Interior stated that nobody today can affect the freedom of expression in Haiti and that he intended to speak with the Director General of CONATEL for better appreciation of the content of this announcement.

RSF recall that Haiti is ranked 47th out of 180 countries in the 2014 press freedom index that Reporters Without Borders published in February, a fairly enviable position that is now threated by the increase in intimidation of journalists of the past few months, indicating that "Eight journalists have recently reported being threatened to Reporters Without Borders."

Download the Decree of 12 October 1977 (PDF Format) : http://www.haitilibre.com/docs/loitelecom.pdf

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