IFJ Condemns Slaying of Haitian Journalist As Wave of Violence Against Media Continues

The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalists' organisation, today condemned the brutal killing of radio journalist Brignol Lindor. His killing follows from a wave of assaults and threats suffered by the Haitian media over the past two years. "It is a merciless campaign in which journalists are being targeted and victimized", said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ.

A mob stoned and hacked to death Lindor yesterday in the same town where opposition members have faced off recently against government supporters. Lindor, news director of Radio Eco 2000, was ambushed as he was on his way to the town of Petit-Goave, 40 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Radio Eco 2000 journalist Junol Casimir alleged that his co-worker was killed by supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family party. Casimir said Lindor had received death threats from Aristide supporters after inviting opposition leaders to speak on his radio show.

At least a dozen journalists have been assaulted or threatened this year by the police or Fanmi Lavalas supporters. On November 17th Radio Métropole journalist Francine Léonard was assaulted by a supporter of the ruling Fanmi Lavalas party. According to Léonard, she is allegedly being targeted for presenting the ruling party in an unflattering light in her coverage.

On October 12th Jean Robert Delciné, a Radio Haïti Inter journalist, was assaulted by two police officers and his materials seized. Delciné was insulted and slapped across the face by Police Inspector Yrvens César. Cité Soleil Commissioner Marcellus Camy also hit Delciné. The two police officers confiscated his cassette recorder before letting him go. On June 20th, two former police officers threatened to kill Fritson Orius, another Radio Haïti Inter journalist. On 3 April 2000, Jean Dominique, the country's best-known Haitian journalist and political analyst, was killed in Radio Haïti Inter's courtyard. He was the station's director.

On August 27th Confident Fedner, a reporter for the radio station Radio Sacré-Coeur in Thiotte city (southwestern Haiti) received death threats after condemning alleged irregularities in the city's municipal government. The journalist was first threatened on 17 July by one of the Thiotte mayor's security guards. Since then he has, on several occasions, received threats from a civil society organisation close to the Thiotte mayor and the ruling Fanmi Lavalas Party.

Liberus Renald and Claude François, journalists from the radio station Rotation FM, were arrested during a police action in the radio station's offices on August 9th. The police officers seized a cassette that contained statements by former soldiers who allegedly attacked Haitian National Police installations on July 28th. After the journalists refused to hand over the recording, the police officers punched and kicked them and took them to the Belladères police station.

On April 20th nearly 300 people armed with revolvers, machetes and clubs attacked the long wave transmitters of Radio Lumière and Radio Vision Nouvelle in Ménélas, in the suburbs north of Port-au-Prince. Antoine Jean, Radio Vision Nouvelle's guard, was killed by the attackers with machetes.

estimates the losses at US$200,000. The radio station, which only transmits on long wave, had to stop its broadcasts. Furthermore, on the evening of April 15th, a group of armed men illegally entered the premises housing the studios of the private radio station Radio Vision 2000, as well as Radio Express and Télé Express, in Jacmel. The attackers stole some equipment.

"The campaign against media staff by the police and ruling party is a despicable dossier of human rights violations and disregard for press freedom," said the IFJ, "the government must act to end these attacks immediately."