Comment: Every child has a dream of becoming some day a pilot, a police officer, or a journalist.
I am afraid of airplanes and police officers, but I have always been fascinated by those men and women who are there, on the TV screen, so present that you can almost touch them. I was overwhelmed with joy when I recognized the voice of that radio commentator, the warm tone from the favorite radio program of my younger years.
So when, as a teenager, I entered the door of “Maison de la Radio” in my hometown, invited to a variety talk show along with my hero, Claude François, my heart was pounding so hard that I almost fainted as I walked into the large studio. But the first step had been taken, and from that day on, the subsequent ones were mere repetitions. Ten years later, I became a reporter, commentator, and correspondent of the program. This time, I was the one responsible for organizing major concerts, both during live programs on the radio and in front of the public. I was identified in the streets, I was signing autographs…
Then came Haiti Chérie. So, there I am, a journalist, among men and women experiencing quite a different reality. Here, when a journalist is recognized in the streets, it is often to be insulted and threatened, his/her camera is sometimes taken away, or he/she may even be killed. Here, a journalist is not invited, but summoned for a press conference. And God help the journalist who fails to write down exactly what has been said! If he/she has questions, there is usually not enough time to answer them. Not to mention the salary. He/she has to use filthy mass transit vehicles, eat in greasy spoons (called in Creole “chen janbe,” or refused by dogs), and for those journalists who have children of school age, they have to settle for a ?borlette? school at the end of an impasse.
That journalist, however, although contested and despised in addition to the violations of his/her rights, continues to work with courage and determination, challenging the dangers of barricades set aflame with burning tires, blending in the middle of demonstrations, and going all over the city.
And, all the sudden, a survey reveals that two Haitians out of three believe that journalists do their work with objectivity. In the upper classes, the ratio even reaches three to one. That is real support for the fourth power in Haiti. In this country where any advance in development is so hard to achieve, journalists are therefore seen as agents of progress. The need for journalists and the quality of their work are acknowledged by the majority of citizens.
Those men and women, who are passionately committed to their work as reporters, can therefore move forward. They do have support.
HPN (from Haitiscopie Le Nouvelliste/ Radio Métropole)