June 20, 2002

Mr. Mario Dupuy
Secretary of State for Communications
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Dear Mr. Dupuy:

Thank you for meeting with my colleagues, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) board members Franz Allina and Clarence Page, and me on June 11. We very much appreciated your taking the time to express your views on press freedom in Haiti and your goals to improve the work environment for members of the media.

Nevertheless, we would like to express our concern about your plans to develop, in cooperation with media owners and journalists’ associations, a legally enforceable code of ethics for the press.

As we stated during the press conference that we held before leaving Port-au-Prince on June 13, CPJ, along with media owners and other press freedom organizations, strongly opposes such legislation.

Although we recognize that the media must carry out their work consistent with ethical principles, as a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, CPJ believes that no government should impose standards of conduct on the media because such policies open the door to censorship.

Since this legislation was only mentioned briefly at the end of our meeting with you, we would like to request more information about what the code may entail, and to open a dialogue with you to ensure that any law passed does not restrict press freedom in your country.

We thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your reply.


Marylene Smeets

Americas Program Coordinator