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Haitian gov't condemns attacks on journalists

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) – The Haitian government has condemned the “targeted” attacks on journalists both in the private and public sector with Prime Minister Jean Michel Lapin also condemning the verbal and physical pressure, intimidation and attacks on all press workers.

Both Lapin and Eddy Jackson Alexis, the Secretary of State for Communication, were critical of the attacks that led to the death of at least one journalist and attacks on radio and television stations in the country as demonstrators continued to call for the resignation of President Jovel Moise over allegations of embezzlement.

Lapin said that while recognising the right of everyone to demonstrate peacefully, he was denouncing the verbal and physical pressure, intimidation and attacks on all press workers in particular and the general public and “expresses his solidarity with the journalists who are victims, and encourages actors to work for stability and lasting peace in society”.

He said that the protests were by groups of citizens “who have publicly stated their position and produced their demands.

“The exercise of this constitutional right was well regarded by the Primature who instructed the competent authorities to make the best arrangements for the management of crowd movements,” he said, adding that the Haitian National Police deserve praise for its professional behaviour.

“Unfortunately, burrs could not be avoided and tainted the day that ended with the death of two people and destruction of material property,' Lapin said, adding “the Primature deplores the deaths that occurred in this circumstance and offers its sincere condolences to the parents of the victims. The death of a man is too much.

“It should be recalled that the right to protest is guaranteed by the Constitution, which imposes on the authorities the duty to protect life and property,” Prime Minister Lapin noted.

In his statement, Alexis said that he was condemning the attacks against journalists and the media workers both in the public and private sectors.

“The targeted attack on Radio Télé Ginen (RTG) where three vehicles of the station were set on fire and windshields of several others stationed in front of the media building broken this Monday, June 10, 2019,” he said, expressing “solidarity with Radio Télé Ginen but also with journalists, Martine Denis Chandler, Richardson Jourdan of the RTNH, Lesly Dorcin of newspaper Le Nouvelliste, who were also victims of separate incidents on Friday 7 and Sunday June 9.”

Police confirmed that Rospide Pétion, who worked for Radio Sans Fin, was shot to death in the capital on Monday night.

The Secretary of State said he wanted to reiterate that “intolerance and any attack on the freedom to inform cannot be tolerated in any form in a democratic society.”

The protesters are demanding the removal of President Moise from office over allegations of misuse of funds associated with the PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

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