Rum company owner sues Haitian news site AyiboPost, editor-in-chief for criminal defamation

  • Source: CPJ
  • October 9, 2023

"The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the criminal defamation suit filed by the owner of the rum company Rhum Barbancourt against the independent news website AyiboPost and its editor-in-chief, Widlore Mérancourt, and calls on Haitian authorities to repeal the country’s punitive criminal defamation laws, the organization said Friday [Oct. 6].

On Sept. 14, lawyers for Barbancourt owner and CEO, Delphine Gardère, filed a lawsuit against the AyiboPost and Mérancourt in the Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, the capital, alleging that a June 7 AyiboPost report by Mérancourt about the company made defamatory allegations about Gardère’s election as president of the Franco-Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

‘[...] Lobbing accusations at a respected journalist as a means of discrediting his work is deeply concerning behavior from one of Haiti’s largest companies,’ said Cristina Zahar, CPJ’s program coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, in São Paulo. ‘Haitian judicial authorities should protect journalists, who already work in a precarious safety environment, and the government should repeal Haiti’s draconian criminal defamation laws.’"

Read original article