By Alejandro Martínez
Journalists in Haiti critical of the government constantly face intimidation and are blocked access to official sources, according to a recent report from the University of San Francisco’s School of Law and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.
The report found that, since President Michel Martelly took office in May 2011, journalists are the targets of regular threats, the destruction of work equipment and government retaliation for critical reporting.
Besides often being denied interviews with officials or access to information, journalists face “defamation lawsuits with criminal sanctions, and license revocation, in addition meager salaries and lack of training opportunities,” an IJDH press release said.
Even though the report notes that the situation of the press in Haiti is notably better than under previous governments, the current trend has “created an atmosphere of fear and a chilling effect on journalists’ freedom of expression,” the press release said.
Reporters Without Borders currently places Haiti in position number 52 in a list of 179 countries in terms of press freedom.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.