Jailing of two Haitian journalists condemned by Reporters Without Borders

By Ian Tennant

Reporters Without Borders has called for the immediate release of two Haitian journalists who were jailed June 22 by authorities for no apparent valid reason, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange reports.

On June 29, Reporters Without Borders said the "arbitrary charges" against radio journalists Ernst Joseph and Wolf “Duralph” François, hosts of a program on Radio Prévention in the southwestern town of Petit-Goâve, "constitute an abuse of authority and a form of censorship."

SOS Journalists, a Haitian group set up to protect local journalists, had condemned the "arrest and illegal detention" of Joseph and François on June 22, according to a report on the Defend Haiti website.

Joseph, who owns Radio Prévention, and François were summoned to the local prosecutor's office after complaints by local officials, including from the mayor, about opinions and reporting heard on the station, said Reporters Without Borders. Radio Prévention was shut down, equipment was confiscated and the two men were charged with defamation, disturbing public order and destruction of public property.

Reporters Without Borders also condemned the sudden firing of three television journalists by the head of the state-owned Télévision Nationale d’Haïti (TNH) in April. Eddy Jackson Alexis, Josias Pierre and Jacques Innocent say they were fired for being critical of newly elected President Michel Martelly. Pradel Henriquez, the director-general of TNH, alleged the journalists were guilty of a smear campaign against him. The journalists were fired just days after Martelly visited TNH.

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.